What Price Liberty: The Search for Equality for Kinship-Caregiving Families
13 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2020
Date Written: 2013
This article explores the tension between equality and liberty within the context of family law, focusing on the ways that kinship families are oriented to prioritize equality over liberty. Family Law’s marriage-centric framework continues to exclude kinship-caregiver families from domestic relations court, forcing them to address family matters in probate and dependency court where there are fewer protections for parents, caregivers, and children. This article argues that because poor families, particularly families of color where kinship-caregivers are disproportionately over-represented, are often more dependent on the state to meet their material needs, they are more attuned to threats to equality rather than infringements on liberty. In contrast, affluent families who advocate for their interests in the realm of private domestic relations tend to favor liberty interests, even at the expense of equality. It advocates for an examination of the ways in which different communities understand and experience liberty to better understand inequality.
Keywords: Family Law, Guardianship, Kinship-Caregiver, Liberty, Equality, Poverty and the Law, Family Responsibility/Support Law
JEL Classification: K36, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation