Parents Know Best: Revising Our Approach to Parental Custody Agreements

44 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2008

See all articles by Linda Jellum

Linda Jellum

Mercer University - Walter F. George School of Law

Abstract

Historically, parents have not been able to determine custody of their children prior to marriage in the form of a prenuptial agreement. Although parents are able to enter into such agreements, courts normally have a great deal of latitude in ignoring these agreements. A majority of states merely consider the agreement as one factor in determining what is in the child's best interest, while the majority of the rest presume the agreement is in the best interest of the child unless the judge finds otherwise. Only two states defer to the parental agreement unless it would be harmful to the child. This Article maintains that this "parental deference standard" is the best of the three standards for three reasons. First, this standard would lead to better decision-making because it would remove the decision from the hands of judges. Second, this standard would significantly improve the child-custody process. Third, this standard best respects the parents' fundamental right to make parenting decisions for their children.

Keywords: Child Custody, Family Law

Suggested Citation

Jellum, Linda, Parents Know Best: Revising Our Approach to Parental Custody Agreements. Ohio State Law Journal, Vol. 65, No. 615, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1098472

Linda Jellum (Contact Author)

Mercer University - Walter F. George School of Law ( email )

1021 Georgia Ave
Macon, GA 31207-0001
United States

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