Parents, Babies, and More Parents

June Carbone & Naomi Cahn, Parents, Babies, and More Parents, 92 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 9 (2017).

45 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2021

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: January 1, 17

Abstract

This Article makes two basic points. First, the three-parent family is here. Once states accept that parenthood does not depend on either biology or marriage, then three parents are inevitable unless the states go out of their way to rule that adults who otherwise meet their definitions of parenthood will not be recognized. Second, as three-parent family recognition increases, there are difficult questions on how to manage the status of each parent. This difficulty arises because the two major trends in the family law—the recognition of a multiplicity of family forms and the insistence on parental equality—are on a collision course.

Accordingly, in the Article, we first address how the various frameworks for legal parenthood are consistent with recognition of more than two parents, how existing law is moving toward such recognition, and how marriage equality is likely to increase the pressure to acknowledge a variety of alternative family arrangements. Second, we review the existing cases and statutes that have fostered recognition of more than two parents, and document the failure to develop understandings about what such recognition entails when it comes to raising a child. Third, we discuss the problems that would arise if the courts were to try to recognize multiple adults as parents and accord them equal standing in accordance with existing law. Finally, we argue that the solutions lie in a more flexible approach that permits recognition of a primary caretaker principle in those cases with more than two adults who function as parents.

Keywords: family law, parentage, three parents, custody, support, marriage equality, functional parentage, de facto parentage, LGBT relationships

JEL Classification: K36

Suggested Citation

Carbone, June and Cahn, Naomi R., Parents, Babies, and More Parents (January 1, 17). June Carbone & Naomi Cahn, Parents, Babies, and More Parents, 92 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 9 (2017)., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3954545

June Carbone (Contact Author)

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

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

Naomi R. Cahn

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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