Online Symposium on Merle Weiner’s “A Parent-Partner Status for American Family Law”

9781107088085It is an honor to introduce Professor Merle Weiner and the participants of our online symposium on A Parent-Partner Status for American Family Law (Cambridge University Press). This week we will be discussing Professor Weiner’s provocative new book, which critiques the law’s reliance on marriage, domestic partnerships, and contracts to set the parameters of parents’ legal relationship to each other rather than looking to their status as parents.   Professor Weiner proposes creating a legal “parent-partner” status to guide parents to act as supportive partners and discourage uncommitted couples from having children together. Her proposed status would shift the focus from the adults’ romantic relationships to the parental partnership.

At a time when many adults are increasingly postponing or foregoing marriage, but not childbearing, A Parent-Partner Status raises many important and difficult questions. What are the risks of creating a legal parent-partner status?  Should the law be in the “relationship work” business? How would a parent-partner status affect non-traditional families?  What are its potential risks and benefits for families that have experienced domestic violence? Should the law attempt to discourage reproduction between uncommitted individuals?

To consider these and many other fascinating questions, we have invited a group of leading family law scholars: Professors Richard Banks, Brian Bix, Naomi Cahn, June Carbone, Leigh Goodmark, Clare Huntington, Jane Murphy, and of course, Professor Weiner.

Let the discussion begin.

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1 Response

  1. Eric Letts says:

    Really excited about this symposium of ideas on this topic. Professor Weiner is thinking in the right direction – the relationship is not just between parents, it is also between a parent and a child as well as the parents and their community. Interested in the discussion of using community norms to define a parent-partner’s roles and obligations. If there are new, legally imposed obligations on a “parent-partner” – there should also be new and expanded expectations upon communities – ie. greater enforcement of family status human rights.