Legal Commandment Regarding Parental Love of a Child and Damages for Emotional Neglect: Will State Law Follow Natural Law?
LAWS REGARDING LOVE, Hana Naveh and Orna Ben-Naftali, eds., pp. 272-349, Tel-Aviv University, 2005
82 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2009 Last revised: 29 Dec 2014
Date Written: 2005
Is it the job of state law to intervene in or follow in the footsteps of natural law, and to stipulate that the duty of a parent to raise his child while showing warmth and love- a natural norm- should receive a legalistic, enforceable form? Does the law have solutions when a parent is not interested or is not capable of protecting that valuable asset that is the emotional bond between him and his children? Can a civil suit between a parent and a child on the basis of the failure to fulfill the duty of emotional concern even be handled with the regular tools of inter-personal disputes? Is placing a positive duty on the parent to love his child the way for the law to set this norm, or should the law perhaps confine itself to a negative duty that places upon a parent liability for the omission of "emotional neglect," which caused the child emotional, mental, or developmental damage? Or should the law perhaps prefer to stay out of the family unit and leave the authority in the hands of the parent rather than realize the rights of the child, as expressed in giving an opportunity to file an action for his damages? This is a group of questions, all of which are clearly connected to the question of the legal policy that should be taken regarding the essence of legal intervention in the family unit in general and in the parent-child relationship specifically, and the scope of such intervention, that this Article will attempt to address while presenting a few models of legal intervention, their advantages and their disadvantages, and proposing an original model. The model that will be proposed will attempt to "dodge between the raindrops," and this is out of an understanding that local intervention in the relations between two organs in the family cannot be disconnected from the general influence over the set of relationships in it and over its stability and the foundations upon which it rests, while simultaneously considering the rights of the child. Thus the proposed model will attempt to serve as a thread that connects and bridges between opposing models by finding a compromise and balancing point that can match the nature of the modern family.
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