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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Child Custody Fights to Get Very Complicated



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I believe we are in a time of growing social anarchy, in part driven by the new reproductive technologies and marital instability. People want what they want, and regardless of potential consequences, by golly, they are going to make it happen! The fact that this could cause great confusion or distress in children is too often beside the point.

Of course, many see it differently. They couch their corrosive assault on family norms in terms of liberating people from stultifying conformity, catching up to modernity, or changing laws to match what children supposedly see. 

California already legally recognizes that a child can have three parents. Now, Australia may go even further. From the ever-valuable BioEdge’s report:

Australian law could be revised to allow more than one [sic, actually two?] parent, if recommendations in a major report are accepted by the government. A “Report On Parentage And The Family Law Act”, was released this week.

Adoption and new reproduction technologies are placing new strains on what “parent” means in contemporary society. Because of “the evidence of family diversity and children’s views about who is a parent”, the Council has recommended that the word “parent” be replaced by “other significant adults” or “other people of significance to the child” and that references to “both” (which implies only two) parents should be omitted.

There are many kinds of parents, the Council points out: legal, adoptive, genetic, intending, psychological, social and surrogate, amongst others.

I don’t see how this is going to turn out well for children. It can be tough enough for them with two legal parents and other adults going in and out of their lives.

But then, at 65, perhaps I am just set in my ways. Get off my lawn!

This I do know: Child custody fights and support petitions are going to get very complicated.



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