Child Custody in the Age of Children's Rights: The Search for a Just and Workable Standard
Barbara Bennett Woodhouse
Emory University School of Law; University of Florida - Fredric G. Levin College of Law
Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 3, Fall 1999
Reformers heralded the twentieth century as "The Century of the Child." In international law, that description proved prophetic. Children's rights have moved from the margins of discussion to center stage. The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most rapidly and universally accepted human rights document of our century. The Convention is striking evidence of a major twentieth-century revolution in how we conceptualize children's law. This essay provides a condensed and admittedly impressionistic account of the development of the best interest standard and of the arguments raised both for and against it. The author concludes that the future of custody law lies in perfecting the best interest standard, not in abandoning it for simpler alternatives that lack a child-centered justification.
Date posted: August 2, 2000
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