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Full-Text Articles in Law

Prenatal Drug Exposure As Aggravated Circumstances, Frank E. Vandervort Nov 2019

Prenatal Drug Exposure As Aggravated Circumstances, Frank E. Vandervort

Articles

In Michigan, "a child has a legal right to begin life with sound mind and body." Yet the family court may not assert Juvenile Code jurisdiction until after birth. In re Baby X addressed the question of whether a parent's prenatal conduct may form the basis for jurisdiction upon birth. It held that a mother's drug use during pregnancy is neglect, allowing the court to assert jurisdiction immediately upon the child's birth. In deciding Baby X, the Court specifically reserved the question of whether parental drug use during pregnancy might be sufficient to permanently deprive a parent ...


Fathers And Feminism: The Case Against Genetic Entitlement, Jennifer S. Hendricks Jan 2017

Fathers And Feminism: The Case Against Genetic Entitlement, Jennifer S. Hendricks

Articles

This Article makes the case against a nascent consensus among feminist and other progressive scholars about men's parental rights. Most progressive proposals to reform parentage law focus on making it easier for men to assert parental rights, especially when they are not married to the mother of the child. These proposals may seek, for example, to require the state to make more extensive efforts to locate biological fathers, to require pregnant women to notify men of their impending paternity, or to require new mothers to give biological fathers access to infants.

These proposals disregard the mother's existing parental ...


A Liberal Dilemma: Respecting Autonomy While Also Protecting Inchoate Children From Prenatal Substance Abuse., Andrew J. Weisberg, Frank E. Vandervort Mar 2016

A Liberal Dilemma: Respecting Autonomy While Also Protecting Inchoate Children From Prenatal Substance Abuse., Andrew J. Weisberg, Frank E. Vandervort

Articles

Substance abuse is a significant social problem in America. It is estimated that some eighteen million Americans have an alcohol abuse problem and that almost five million have a drug abuse problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs some $700 billion per year Substance abuse is a major contributor to child maltreatment. It is estimated that between one- and two-thirds of cases in which children enter foster care are linked to parental substance abuse. Unfortunately, this may be an underestimate as recent research suggests that many cases, particularly cases in which children have been exposed ...


Constitutionalizing Fetal Rights: A Salutary Tale From Ireland, Fiona De Londras Dec 2015

Constitutionalizing Fetal Rights: A Salutary Tale From Ireland, Fiona De Londras

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

In 1983, Ireland became the first country in the world to constitutionalize fetal rights. The 8th Amendment to the Constitution, passed by a referendum of the People, resulted in constitutional protection for “the right to life of the unborn,” which was deemed “equal” to the right to life of the “mother.” Since then, enshrining fetal rights in constitutions and in legislation has emerged as a key part of anti-abortion campaigning. This Article traces the constitutionalization of fetal rights in Ireland and its implications for law, politics, and women. In so doing, it provides a salutary tale of such an approach ...


Newfound Religion: Mothers, God, And Infanticide, Susan Ayres Jul 2015

Newfound Religion: Mothers, God, And Infanticide, Susan Ayres

Susan Ayres

This essay focuses on cultural constructions of infanticide and psychosis, especially cases in which the mother heard delusional commands to kill her children. Part I examines the background of the Yates, Laney, and Diaz cases. Part II explores whether these mothers can be seen paradoxically as feminist subjects of empowerment rather than as victims. This essay argues that psychotic mothers have been disempowered and silenced, so their acts cannot be seen as subversive feminist gestures. Part III, however, arguest that the legal trials of Laney and Diaz demonstrate a possible subversion through trial strategy. These two trials more fully told ...


Constrained Choice: Mothers, The State, And Domestic Violence, Rona Kaufman Kitchen Dec 2014

Constrained Choice: Mothers, The State, And Domestic Violence, Rona Kaufman Kitchen

Rona Kaufman Kitchen

Mothers who are the victims of domestic violence face unique challenges in their quest for safety. The legal response to domestic violence requires that mothers respond to abuse in specific state-sanctioned manners. However, when mothers respond accordingly, such as by reporting abuse and leaving the abusive relationship, their safety and the safety of their children is not guaranteed. Moreover, by responding in state-sanctioned manners, mothers risk a host of negative consequences including increased threat to their immediate and long-term safety, the loss of their children, undesired financial, health, and social consequences, and criminal prosecution. On the other hand, when mothers ...


Holistic Pregnancy: Rejecting The Theory Of The Adversarial Mother, Rona Kaufman Kitchen Dec 2014

Holistic Pregnancy: Rejecting The Theory Of The Adversarial Mother, Rona Kaufman Kitchen

Rona Kaufman Kitchen

In its zealous effort to protect the lives and health of unborn children, the law frequently views the expecting mother with suspicion. In its most extreme form, the law regards the potential mother as a potential murderess. This perspective does not reflect the nature of pregnancy, it undermines the autonomy of loving mothers, and it is detrimental to children. Regardless of whether there is any conflict between mother and fetus, the State presumes the mother to be a threat to her fetus and subjugates her rights as a result. The State interferes with the mother’s autonomy, bodily integrity, parental ...


The Payoffs And Pitfalls Of Laws That Encourage Shared Parenting: Lessons From The Australian Experience, Patrick Parkinson Apr 2014

The Payoffs And Pitfalls Of Laws That Encourage Shared Parenting: Lessons From The Australian Experience, Patrick Parkinson

Dalhousie Law Journal

A fierce argument is raging in various jurisdictions around the world about whether legislation should encourage shared parenting when mothers and fathers live apart. Much attention has been paid to changes to the law in Australia in 2006; however, there are many myths about the impact of those legislative changes. This article explains the changes and places them in the context of developments across the western world in the law of parenting after separation. It then reviews the research evidence on the effects of the 2006 reforms, particularly in terms of the encouragement of shared care. The article concludes by ...


Surrender And Subordination: Birth Mothers And Adoption Law Reform, Elizabeth J. Samuels Jan 2013

Surrender And Subordination: Birth Mothers And Adoption Law Reform, Elizabeth J. Samuels

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

For more than thirty years, adoption law reform advocates have been seeking to restore for adult adoptees the right to access their original birth certificates, a right that was lost in all but two states between the late 1930s and 1990. The advocates have faced strong opposition and have succeeded only in recent years and only in eight states. Among the most vigorous advocates for access are birth mothers who surrendered their children during a time it was believed that adoption would relieve unmarried women of shame and restore them to a respectable life. The birth mother advocates say that ...


Against The New Maternalism, Naomi Mezey, Cornelia T. L. Pillard Jan 2012

Against The New Maternalism, Naomi Mezey, Cornelia T. L. Pillard

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Parenting is a major preoccupation in law and culture. As a result of efforts of the American women's movement over the past forty years, the legal parent is, for the first time in history, sex-neutral. Our law has abandoned restrictions on women's education, employment, and civic participation that sprang from and reinforced beliefs about the primacy of motherhood as women's best destiny. On the flip side, U.S. law now also generally rejects formal constraints on men's family roles by requiring sex-neutrality of laws regulating custody, adoption, alimony, spousal benefits, and the like. The official de-linking ...


Mothering As A Life Course Transition: Do Women Go Straight For Their Children?, Venezia Michalsen Aug 2011

Mothering As A Life Course Transition: Do Women Go Straight For Their Children?, Venezia Michalsen

Department of Justice Studies Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works

In this study, qualitative, in-depth interviews were conducted with 100 formerly incarcerated mothers to explore the relationship between attachment to children and desistance from criminal behavior. Exploratory data analysis revealed that mothers do believe that children play important roles in their desistance, consistent with the tenets of life course theory. However, children were also described as sources of great stress, which may in turn promote criminal behavior. Women also related desistance to reliance on self and a higher power, and to a desire to avoid future involvement with the criminal justice system. The article concludes with a call for more ...


The Nonmarital Sexual Conduct Of Custodial Mothers: A Study Of California's Precarious Parental Rights, Barbara Child Sep 2010

The Nonmarital Sexual Conduct Of Custodial Mothers: A Study Of California's Precarious Parental Rights, Barbara Child

Golden Gate University Law Review

Mothers of minor children engage in sexual conduct with men to whom they are not married. That is no longer a shocking truth. Nonetheless, those mothers continue to live with a Damocles sword hanging over their heads. Their sexual conduct can still cause them to lose their children, even in these supposedly liberated times in the state of California. This Article surveys the cases in which the most commonly used ambiguous statutes together with secure judicial discretion have been brought to bear on custodial mothers who either by choice or by economic necessity do not live conventional middleclass lives. The ...


Advocating For The Constitutional Rights Of Nonresident Fathers, Vivek Sankaran Jan 2008

Advocating For The Constitutional Rights Of Nonresident Fathers, Vivek Sankaran

Articles

Months after a child welaare case is petitioned, a nonresident father appears in court and requests custody of his children who are living in foster care. Little is known about the father, and immediately, the system-judge, caseworkers, and attorneys view him with suspicion and caution, inquiring about his whereabouts and his prior involvement in the children's lives. Those doubts, in turn, raise complicated questions about his legal rights to his children. As a practioner working in the child welfare system, you're likely to face this scenario. The largest percentage of child victims of abuse and neglect come from ...


Noncustodial Fathers' Involvement With Their Children: A Right Or A Privilege?, Janice Laakso, Sheri Adams Jan 2006

Noncustodial Fathers' Involvement With Their Children: A Right Or A Privilege?, Janice Laakso, Sheri Adams

Social Work & Criminal Justice Publications

This study explores the key determinants of noncustodial fathers' involvement with their children. The stereotype that fathers have little interest in parenting their children is contradicted. The findings reveal that fathers are committed to parenting; however, actions on the part of the mothers and what the participants perceive to be bias on the part of the courts prevent fathers from having the relationship with their children they desire. Even fathers who have been committed early in the relationship to their children, pay child support, and give no justification for being denied parental rights do not necessarily get to spend time ...


Newfound Religion: Mothers, God, And Infanticide, Susan Ayres Jan 2006

Newfound Religion: Mothers, God, And Infanticide, Susan Ayres

Faculty Scholarship

This essay focuses on cultural constructions of infanticide and psychosis, especially cases in which the mother heard delusional commands to kill her children. Part I examines the background of the Yates, Laney, and Diaz cases. Part II explores whether these mothers can be seen paradoxically as feminist subjects of empowerment rather than as victims. This essay argues that psychotic mothers have been disempowered and silenced, so their acts cannot be seen as subversive feminist gestures. Part III, however, arguest that the legal trials of Laney and Diaz demonstrate a possible subversion through trial strategy. These two trials more fully told ...


The Rights Of Putative Fathers To Their Infant Children In Contested Adoptions: Strengthening State Laws That Currently Deny Adequate Protection, Robbin Pott Gonzalez Jan 2006

The Rights Of Putative Fathers To Their Infant Children In Contested Adoptions: Strengthening State Laws That Currently Deny Adequate Protection, Robbin Pott Gonzalez

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This paper argues that states need to strengthen protection of putative fathers' rights to their infant children when the mother wishes for the child to be adopted. Part I frames the discussion around established parental rights through constitutional case law. To do this, the paper addresses both the Supreme Court's parental rights doctrine and its biology-plus doctrine, which requires unwed fathers to show that in addition to being the biological father they also have taken responsibility for their children. Part II describes common state statutes that affect putative fathers, including putative father registries, safe haven laws, and laws granting ...


Placing The Adoptive Self, Carol Sanger Jan 2003

Placing The Adoptive Self, Carol Sanger

Faculty Scholarship

[A]doption law and practices are guided by enormous cultural changes in the composition and the meaning of family. As families become increasingly blended outside the context of adoption – with combinations of blood relatives, step-relatives, de facto relatives, and ex-relatives sitting down together for Thanksgiving dinner as a matter of course – birth families and adoptive families knowing one another may not seem so very strange or threatening at all. There will simply be an expectation across communities that ordinary families will be mixed and multiple. With that in mind, we should hesitate before establishing embeddedness as the source of mother ...


The Sexual Regulation Dimension Of Contemporary Welfare Law: A Fifty State Overview, Anna Marie Smith Jan 2002

The Sexual Regulation Dimension Of Contemporary Welfare Law: A Fifty State Overview, Anna Marie Smith

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

In this article, Smith will attempt to demonstrate that welfare policy has become a prominent site of sexual regulation; that the rights of poor single mothers are at stake in this respect; and that given the precise structure of contemporary American welfare reform, we must pay especially close attention to the laws and regulations adopted at the state level. First, Smith will place contemporary sexual regulation-oriented welfare law in an historical context by considering its precedents in English and American public policy traditions (Part I). Using original qualitative analyses of the states' statutory codes and administrative regulations, Smith will then ...


The Alienation Of Fathers, Linda Kelly Jan 2000

The Alienation Of Fathers, Linda Kelly

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

By evaluating immigration and custody law from a father's perspective and thereby uncovering and addressing the biases held against men, both fathers and mothers will achieve greater recognition. Beyond revealing gender discrimination, such a study also demonstrates the disparate views still harbored toward unmarried parents. Examining custody and immigration law with an emphasis on these issues will hopefully foster a dialogue that brings the law in line with the reality of today's families and promotes each family member's individual potential.


Child Care In The Postwelfare Reform Era: Analysis And Strategies For Advocates, Rebecca L. Scharf, Jo Ann C. Gong, Alice Bussiere, Jennifer Light, Marc Cohan, Sherry Leiwant Jan 1999

Child Care In The Postwelfare Reform Era: Analysis And Strategies For Advocates, Rebecca L. Scharf, Jo Ann C. Gong, Alice Bussiere, Jennifer Light, Marc Cohan, Sherry Leiwant

Scholarly Works

Adequate child care is essential to enable poor women to support their families with work outside the home. In 1994 the U.S. General Accounting Office found that offering a child care subsidy to poor mothers increased the likelihood by 15 percent that the mothers would work. An Illinois study found that 20 percent of parents who left public assistance for work returned to assistance because of child care problems. In Minnesota a study found that lack of child care caused 14 percent of parents awaiting child care subsidies to leave their jobs and rely on public assistance. These studies ...


"O Wind, Remind Him That I Have No Child": Infertility And Feminist Jurisprudence, Linda J. Lacey Jan 1998

"O Wind, Remind Him That I Have No Child": Infertility And Feminist Jurisprudence, Linda J. Lacey

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Feminists have constructed a "grand theory" of infertility and new reproductive techniques that has little to do with reality. Much of the discussion of reproductive technology is written in highly abstract, philosophical terms, rather than in the more experiential, narrative style which characterizes much of feminist jurisprudence. The infertile woman is generally voiceless and invisible in the telling of this story; when she does appear she is dismissed or criticized. This Article is an attempt to begin dialogue which incorporates her perspective into the discussion.


Court-Created Boundaries Between A Visible Lesbian Mother And Her Children, Susan J. Becker Oct 1997

Court-Created Boundaries Between A Visible Lesbian Mother And Her Children, Susan J. Becker

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

This essay identifies some of the boundaries and obstacles imposed by the courts on a "visible" lesbian mother striving to maintain a healthy relationship with her children. The term "visible" is used to describe a mother whose lesbian sexuality has been revealed to a court empowered with defining her future contact with her children. The primary focus here is on children who were conceived through a heterosexual relationship, and where a heterosexual parent, grandparent, or other person is challenging the lesbian mother's right to custody of, or visitation with, her own children. Court created boundaries are identified and discussed ...


Losing The Struggle For Another Voice: The Case Of Family Law, Carol Smart Oct 1995

Losing The Struggle For Another Voice: The Case Of Family Law, Carol Smart

Dalhousie Law Journal

This paper is based on empirical work in progress concerning co-parenting and the ways in which mothers and fathers organize the care of children after separation. It deals with two foundational issues: Gilligan's concept of "another voice" and its congruence with recent developments in family law in the United Kingdom and otherdeveloped countries including Canada and the United States. The author concludes that the ethic of care incorporated in the British legislation and given some expression in the judicial system does not fully recognize two kinds of caring. There is caring about and caring for. The caring about of ...


Fathers, The Welfare System, And The Virtues And Perils Of Child-Support Enforcement, David L. Chambers Jan 1995

Fathers, The Welfare System, And The Virtues And Perils Of Child-Support Enforcement, David L. Chambers

Articles

For half a century, Aid to Families with Dependent Children ("AFDC")' -the program of federally supported cash assistance to low-income families with children-has been oddly conceived. Congress has chosen to make assistance available almost solely to low-income single-parent families, not all low-income parents with children. At first many of the eligible single parents were women whose husbands had died. Over time, a growing majority were women who had been married to their children's father but who had separated or divorced. Today, to an ever increasing extent, they are women who were never married to the fathers of their children ...


Commentary: Meeting The Financial Needs Of Children, David L. Chambers Jan 1991

Commentary: Meeting The Financial Needs Of Children, David L. Chambers

Articles

Those who drafted the equitable distribution statutes adopted in New York and elsewhere wanted to help assure women and children an acceptable level of financial well-being after divorce. Marsha Garrison has shown that divorcing couples rarely possess enough resources to attain financial well-being even when they live together as a couple, let alone when they live in two separate households. She has also shown that, even in the cases of couples with substantial assets, the broad and general language of the equitable distribution statute did not lead (and could not have been expected to lead) to consistent distributions that assured ...


Stepparents, Biologic Parents, And The Law's Perception Of 'Family' After Divorce, David L. Chambers Jan 1990

Stepparents, Biologic Parents, And The Law's Perception Of 'Family' After Divorce, David L. Chambers

Book Chapters

The drama of divorce always contains at least two characters, a woman and a man, and often a third, a child born to the woman and the man. If you have read the other chapters of this book, you have rarely encountered any of the other persons who may be affected by a divorce, such as the children of either person from a prior marriage, or later spouses or partners of either party, or later born children of either party-all the persons who are or become stepchildren or stepparents. You have not encountered them because, in this country, with minor ...


Surrogate Motherhood From The Perspective Of Family Law, Carl E. Schneider Jan 1990

Surrogate Motherhood From The Perspective Of Family Law, Carl E. Schneider

Articles

One of the things that I find most puzzling about the question of surrogate motherhood is how easily many people answer it. One of the things that I have most admired about today's comments is their tone of constraint and their sense of complexity. I myself am sympathetic to the argument that the unhappiness of infertile couples is profound and that surrogacy contracts offer them the hope of an equally profound happiness. And I am prepared to believe that many surrogate mothers perform their part of the bargain without grief and even with gratification. Yet these benefits of surrogacy ...


The Abuses Of Social Science: A Response To Fineman And Opie., David L. Chambers Jan 1987

The Abuses Of Social Science: A Response To Fineman And Opie., David L. Chambers

Articles

Martha Fineman and Anne Opie have written an article on the misuses of social science research by those who are recommending policies for the placement of children after divorce.' The subject is important. When Professor Fineman told me that she and Opie were using an article I wrote about child custody2 as an example of some of the problems they discussed, I anticipated a useful exchange on the subject. Having read their article, I have decided against an exchange on the merits of the larger issues they raise. I have so decided because their article, which refers extensively to my ...


The 'Legalization' Of The Family: Toward A Policy Of Supportive Neutrality, David L. Chambers Jun 1985

The 'Legalization' Of The Family: Toward A Policy Of Supportive Neutrality, David L. Chambers

Articles

The word "legalization" has conflicting meanings. One, intended to sound the theme of this conference, conveys the notion of government regulation permeating some area of human activity. The other-as found, for example, in the phrase "the legalization of marijuana"-is a near opposite: the process of making legal or permissible that which. was previously forbidden, taking government out of that which it had previously controlled. The recent history of government's relationship to the family amply displays both sorts of legalization, both government's intrusion and its withdrawal, and reveals a paradoxical relation between the two-that as government frees people ...


Rethinking The Substantive Rules For Custody Disputes In Divorce, David L. Chambers Jan 1984

Rethinking The Substantive Rules For Custody Disputes In Divorce, David L. Chambers

Articles

A few states, mostly in the West and South, still retain a preference in custody disputes for placing young children with their mothers. In most other states, legislatures or courts have replaced the maternal presumption with a rule directing courts to be guided solely by the child's "welfare" or "best interests." A few legislatures have created a new preference for joint custody, directing courts to consider favorably requests by a parent for such arrangements, even over the objection of the other parent. This Article argues that the trend away from the maternal presumption is sensible, but that the current ...