Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Family Court Review

Publication Date

2013

Abstract

The past few decades have shown us myriad ways to form a family. Married couples and their biological offspring no longer define the dominant model, nor do they constitute the majority of domestic arrangements. But while contemporary culture tends to applaud social diversity, we cannot be certain that novel, highly individualized family formation is always consonant with child well-being. Further, courts and legislatures have been slow to acknowledge and accommodate domestic diversity. When judges and lawmakers do confer parental rights on a particular class of individuals, the results are not always equitable or even logical. The era of the traditional nuclear family may be past, but the task of legitimating, recognizing, and strengthening new parent–child bonds is just beginning.

Key Points For The Family Court Community:

  • Even in light of its decreasing relevance, the nuclear family model continues to shape our perception of what a family should look like.
  • The presence of a biological tie between parent and child is not always dispositive of parental rights.
  • Despite the prevalence of nontraditional family forms, the notion of de facto parenthood continues to be hotly contested.
  • Stepparent families are America's fastest growing domestic arrangement. Yet, courts and legislatures are slow to accord legal status to nonbiological coparents, whether married or cohabiting.
  • The use of assisted reproductive technology is on the rise among same-sex couples as well as infertile couples and single parents. These families are greatly in need of legal definition and validation in order to function and survive as families.

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.