Document Type


Publication Date



Part I of this article discusses the legal system's recognition of parental rights and enumerates the possible constitutional, statutory, and equitable theories available for protecting the parental rights of nonlegal parents. Part II considers the cases that have rejected the attempts by members of alternative families to use these theories to obtain this protection. Part III discusses the barriers to political power that will make it extremely difficult and time-consuming to achieve legislative change in these areas, and argues that the courts should use the means available to them currently to protect these nonlegal parents and their children while the legislative battles continue.