UNmarried . . . With Children: Evaluating Legal Constraints and Social Judgments *CLE*
9:30 am - 6:00 pm
An increasing number of Americans are creating families outside the institution of marriage. Some are banned from marrying, some find that marriage is not an appropriate option for them, and many simply choose not to marry. Individuals in such relationships often do not enjoy the same rights and benefits as their married counterparts. Further complications arise for those in non-marital relationships who want or have children. In many cases, these difficulties are the result of laws that do not reflect changing social dynamics. As a result, state courts and legislatures across the country are grappling with the issues presented by increasing numbers of these interdependent non-marital relationships. The symposium will explore the social and legal barriers faced by those in non-marital relationships with children as they strive to gain legal recognition for their families and access to reproductive technologies and adoption. The speakers will also address the legal complexities that arise when non-marital relationships with children dissolve. What legal obstacles do practitioners face in advocating for the new American family? Should legislatures continue to promote marriage as the preferred social arrangement or should they choose to accommodate these new family models? Are judges constrained by narrow statutory definitions or can they legislate benefits and rights to these families? A lively and illuminating discussion on some of today's most controversial issues is expected.
Sponsored by the Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law