law of obligations:
1. The category of law dealing with proprietary rights in personam namely, the relations between obligor and obligee. * It is one of the three departments into which civil law was traditionally divided. See IN PERSONAM.
[Latin “against a person”]
l. Involving or determining the personal rights and obligations of the parties.
2. Civil procedure. (Of a legal action) brought against a person rather than property. — aka personal. See action in personam. — in personam, adv. 
Excerpt from R.H. Graveson’s Conflict of Laws (7th ed. 1974):
“An action is said to be in personam when its object is to determine the rights and interests of the parties themselves in the subject-matter of the action, however the action may arise, and the effect of a judgment in such an action is merely to bind the parties to it. A normal action brought by one person against another for breach of contract is a common example of an action in personam.” 
It is one of the three departments into which civil law was traditionally divided: persons, property, and modes of acquiring property (obligations). In modern civil codes that follow the model of the German Civil Code, civil law is divided into five books: general principles, obligations, family law, property, and succession.
Law of Property – the category of law dealing with proprietary rights in rem (relating to “things”), such as personal servitudes, predial servitudes, and rights of real security.
Law of Status – the category of law dealing with personal or nonproprietary rights, whether in rem (relating to “things”) or in personam (relating to persons).
General Principle of Law – a principle recognized in all kinds of legal relations, regardless of the legal system to which it belongs.
Family Law – marriage, divorce, adoption, child custody and support, child abuse and neglect, paternity, assisted reproductive technology, and other domestic-relations issues.
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: R.H. Graveson, Conflict of Laws 98 (7th ed. 1974).
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