Custody and Couvade: The Importance of Paternal Bonding in the Law of Family Relations
75 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2000
Date Written: 1999
This paper discusses the importance of paternal bonding in the law of family relations. Drawing on the metaphor of couvade--pregnancy symptoms in expectant fathers--the paper argues that men have a closer connection with the process of procreation than is commonly supposed in contemporary family law. The paper evaluates the paternal role in seven stages or events connected with procreation--contraception, conception, pregnancy, abortion, perinatal loss, labor and delivery, and early infant care. The paper then considers three legal contexts in which paternal bonding during procreation plays a role: abortion, adoption of children born out of wedlock, and custody/visitation during divorce.
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