A Best-Interest Inquiry: The Missing Ingredient in Utah Family Law For Children of Alternative Families—Jones v. Barlow

Abstract

This . . . is not about gay marriage. This . . . is not about gay adoption. What this . . . is about, is whether or not a child is better off in this rather uncertain world, with as many people as possible taking an interest in the child, both financially and emotionally . . . [No] clear-thinking person could rationally say that a child is not better off with as many people who care about that child as part of her life.   With this, the Third District Court of Utah granted a woman legal standing to petition for visitation with a child born into a former lesbian relationship. Yet the fact remained that the Utah Adoption Act had previously prohibited the woman from formalizing a legal relationship with the child subject to the court's order. As a result, the Utah Supreme Court eventually overturned the ruling. Now, this construction effectively denies a child born into such a situation any inquiry or consideration of his or her best interest in legally recognizing or maintaining a relationship with one of the parents. The result is a legal structure in which "the best interest of the child should govern and be of foremost concern," yet a significant portion of children are refused the adoption and visitation hearings meant to evaluate those interests-leaving the validity of their parent-child relationships open to attack and vulnerable to the whims of adult decisions.    
How to Cite
. A Best-Interest Inquiry: The Missing Ingredient in Utah Family Law For Children of Alternative Families—Jones v. Barlow. Journal of Law and Family Studies, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 1, feb. 2009. Available at: <http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/jlfs/article/view/90>. Date accessed: 20 nov. 2017.
Section
Case Note