Tuesday, July 22, 2014
From Jill Elaine Hasday (University of Minnesota), writing for Slate:
Too often, the law permits sibling relationships to be severed by an adoption or a parent’s divorce or death. Sometimes, siblings are left with no way to stay in touch with each other. When siblings placed in different households have had the chance to write or speak publicly about their experiences, they have emphasized the pain, sadness, and complete shock that separation can inflict.
The tie between siblings is often the longest lasting relationship that a person ever experiences. Social science research makes clear that strong bonds between brothers and sisters can develop very early in childhood. Many children spend more time with their siblings than with anyone else, and siblings who grow up together accumulate a store of shared memories that can shape each sibling for life. Children with absent, dysfunctional, or warring parents often forge especially intense bonds with each other that provide solace, nurturing, and secure emotional attachments.
But as I discuss in my new book, Family Law Reimagined, the legal system has long acted as if marriage and parenthood are the only two family relationships that matter. In recent years, the law has expanded its focus slightly by directing more attention toward unmarried couples. Yet courts and legislatures still do remarkably little to protect sibling ties.
Read more here.