The Policy of Family Privacy: Uncovering the Bias in Favor of Nuclear Families in American Constitutional Law and Policy Reform
102 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2001
Recent scholarship on family privacy suggests that family privacy is not a right belonging to family units per se but to each member of a family. This article, reexamining family privacy doctrine in light of recent controversial developments in the areas of grandparental visitation rights and the abortion rights of minors, among others, argues that the quality of family privacy bestowed on individuals depends in large measure on whether the choices made by those individuals promote the formation and longevity of nuclear families. This bias in favor of nuclear families is reflected not only in constitutional law jurisprudence, but, likewise, permeates even policy reform efforts seemingly aimed at safeguarding the rights of nontraditional families. To show this bias at the level of policy reform, this article analyzes recent reform efforts in the areas of inheritance, adoption, and move-away custody disputes and explains how in each of these contexts the substance of policy reform proposals perpetuates the law's bias in favor of nuclear families.
Keywords: constitutional law, family law, privacy, succession law, nonmarital children, adoption law, move-away custody disputes, policy
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