Title: Parents behaving badly: whether, in the wake of Miller-Jenkins, public policy considerations should play a role in custody decisions

Authors: Ethan Kate

Addresses: Hogan Lovells, 555 13th St. NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA

Abstract: Miller-Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins illustrates the dilemma facing courts in contentious custody disputes: when should the best interests of one child cede to society's interests? Undoubtedly aware of this dilemma, the Miller-Jenkins court cloaked its public policy concerns under the guise of the child's long-term interests. By analysing Miller-Jenkins as it relates to the USA and foreign cases, this article contextualises the situation, showing how courts can attempt to resolve this dilemma. Specifically, a Canadian case demonstrates how a court can assess the child's psychological needs before reaching a decision supported by public policy considerations. Such considerations can improve courts' decision-making capabilities.

Keywords: Lisa Miller-Jenkins; Janet Miller-Jenkins; civil unions; best interest standard; custody decisions; case law; law reports; parents; law courts; contentious disputes; custody disputes; child custody; best interests; society; USA; United States; long-term interests; psychological needs; child psychology; decision-making; Vermont Supreme Court; UNCRC; United Nations; UN; international conventions; child rights; children; CRC; CROC; Islamic law; Islam; family law; Canada; public law; public policy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPLAP.2013.052955

International Journal of Public Law and Policy, 2013 Vol.3 No.2, pp.113 - 140

Published online: 29 Nov 2013 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article