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A Parent-Partner Status for American Family Law

$171.00 (C)

  • Date Published: September 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107088085

$ 171.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Despite the fact that becoming a parent is a pivotal event, the birth or adoption of a child has little significance for parents' legal relationship to each other. Instead, the law relies upon marriage, domestic partnerships, and contracts to set the parameters of parents' legal relationship. With over forty percent of American children born to unwed mothers and consistently high rates of divorce, this book argues that the law's current approach to regulating parental relationships is outdated. A new legal and social structure is needed to guide parents so they act as supportive partners and to deter uncommitted couples from having children. This book is the first of its kind to propose a new “parent-partner” status within family law. Included are a detailed discussion of the benefits of the status as well as specific recommendations for legal obligations.

    • Proposes a novel and pragmatic approach to address the changing nature of the American family
    • Interdisciplinary approach drawing on psychology, sociology and biology will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and students in the social sciences
    • Reorients the legal framework away from the traditional focus on romantic relationships to the realities of parental partnership
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "… a noble effort by a gifted and sincere family scholar."
    Helen Alvaré, Family Studies, blog of the Institute for Family Studies (

    '… the parent-partner status is a thought-provoking project along many dimensions. Weiner’s concern for the realities of modern families, and how fractured adult relationships affect children and parenting, has generated an original proposal for legal reform intervening directly in an area of complex problems. As a set of policy recommendations, the parent-partner status is specific, actionable and constructive. Weiner’s rich discussion of the motives and intended effects of the status add stimulating questions of the normative priorities of family law. The broader implications of her proposal, moreover, illustrate the thorny puzzle of unearthing and addressing gender stereotypes. It will take ambitions as commendably high as Weiner’s to shape family law to fit modern families and values.' Dara E. Purvis, Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice

    'This work presents a thorough discussion of shortcomings in the law’s current treatment of parenting relationships, potential positive outcomes for which the law should aim, and a host of ways the legal system could get us there.' Harvard Law Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107088085
    • length: 660 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 160 x 43 mm
    • weight: 1.03kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The disconnect between the facts and the law
    2. The absence of the 'parent-partner' status
    3. The inadequacy of existing constructs
    4. Reform efforts: slowly moving forward
    5. The new status in theoretical perspective
    6. The benefits of the new status for children
    7. The benefits of the new status for the community
    8. Ambitions for the new status
    9. New non-monetary obligations
    10. A new relationship work obligation
    11. New obligations with financial implications
    12. Possible concerns about the status.

  • Author

    Merle H. Weiner, University of Oregon School of Law
    Merle H. Weiner is the Philip H. Knight Professor of Law at the University of Oregon School of Law. In addition to authoring over twenty major law review articles, she is co-author of Family Law in the World Community, 3rd edition (2015), the first casebook for US law students on comparative and international family law.

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