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15 J. Fam. L. 213 (1976-1977)
Visitation by a Non-Custodial Parent: What is the Best Interest Doctrine

handle is hein.journals/branlaj15 and id is 225 raw text is: VISITATION BY A NON-CUSTODIAL
PARENT: WHAT IS THE BEST
INTEREST DOCTRINE?
Benjamin N. Henszey*
I. INTRODUCTION
Final divorce statistics for 1974 indicate that the na-
tional divorce rate moved to a new high in 1974. Concur-
rently, the number of children affected has kept pace with
the rate of divorce.' The family in twentieth century America
is truly out of favor.2 The new wave of emancipation stat-
utes, the liberalization of divorce law3 and the implication of
the abortion decisions4 have strained the family relationship
to the point where it has become an act of intelligence and
courage5 to consciously choose family life. Presumably, di-
vorced parents stand to gain from these new social attitudes;
however, the great losers may be their children and ulti-
mately the society with which they interact
* Assistant Professor of Business Law, Pennsylvania State University; B.A.,
1961, Williams College; J.D., 1964, Dickinson Law School.
' See NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS, MONTHLY VITAL STATISTICS RE-
PORT, ADVANCE REPORT, FINAL DIVORCE STATISTICS, 1974, Vol. 25, No. 1, Supp. (April
14, 1976). Final divorce statistics for 1974 indicate that 977,000 divorces were
granted in the United States affecting 1,099,000 children under the age of 18.
Provisional statistics for 1975 indicate that divorces granted in the United States
exceeded one million for the first time, the highest rate on record. No indication
has been given about the number of children affected by the 1975 divorces. The
present divorce rate, and the number of children involved, are monumental, espe-
cially in light of the fact that the divorce rate two decades ago was approximately
two-thirds of what it is today.
2 See HARPERS, April, 1976, at 37.
 See Drinan, The Rights of Children in Modern American Family, 2 J. FAM.
L. 101 (1962).
' See Note, Implications of the Abortion Decisions: Post Roe and Doe Litiga-
tion and Legislation, 74 COLUMMA L. REV. 237 (1974).
See HARPERS, note 2 supra.
The author recognizes that in many cases divorce will produce, compara-
tively, beneficial results for children as well as parents. However, it is generally
recognized by child psychologists that no matter what the circumstances of the

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