Stepfamilies and the Law

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University of Michigan Press, 1994 - Law - 239 pages
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One out of every three children can expect to spend some childhood years living in a stepfamily. Yet, in the eyes of the law, the stepparent and child are complete strangers to each other. Stepfamilies and the Law examines the reasons for the great failure of the legal system to catch up with the reality of present-day family life; it also describes the areas in which stepfamilies have been validated.
This book is the first ever to document the treatment of stepfamilies in the various fields where laws regulate family life. Important issues such as inheritance, custody, taxation, torts, and crime are regulated at the state level; nonetheless, there is no uniformity among the states as to any given issue, and furthermore there is little consistency even within each state.
With the rates of divorce and remarriage growing each year, the number of stepfamilies is also growing. Society in general and the legal system in particular are being called upon to respond to the intricate and diverse questions raised by this phenomenon. Lawmakers need to start now to consider the formulation of sound and fair rules to regulate the stepparent-child relationship for the coming decades. The discussions presented in Stepfamilies and the Law should help prepare legal and social scholars for how best to deal with these complex and emotional issues.

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About the author (1994)

Margaret M. Mahoney is Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh.

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