The Past, Present and Future of the Marital Presumption

The International Survey Of Family Law p. 387-398. Ed. by Bill Atkin and Fareda Banda. Bristol: Jordan Publishing Limited, 2013

GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-111

GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-111

15 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2013

See all articles by June Carbone

June Carbone

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law

Naomi Cahn

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

The marital presumption is deeply rooted in Anglo-American law: a husband and wife are assumed to be the father and mother of any child born during their marriage. With the advent of sophisticated genetic testing, no-fault divorce and changing family structures, however, American states are now questioning the continued validity of the presumption. Paternity can be determined with certainty and much of the stigma associated with the circumstances of a child’s birth has disappeared. In the face of these changes, the presumption has been exposed as a legal fiction without a simple meaning, even as it continues to confer parenthood: in all states, married couples, gay or straight, who walk out of the hospital with a child are legal parents. This article explores how states struggle to reconcile the strong public policies supporting marriage with new knowledge about biological facts.

Keywords: family law, child support, marriage, public welfare

Suggested Citation

Carbone, June and Cahn, Naomi R., The Past, Present and Future of the Marital Presumption (2013). The International Survey Of Family Law p. 387-398. Ed. by Bill Atkin and Fareda Banda. Bristol: Jordan Publishing Limited, 2013 , GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-111, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-111, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2316172

June Carbone

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law ( email )

229-19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Naomi R. Cahn (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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