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42 Cap. U. L. Rev. 407 (2014)
Judicial Decision Making in Contested Adoptions: The Influence of Children's Best Interests Arguments

handle is hein.journals/capulr42 and id is 425 raw text is: 

                    CONTESTED ADOPTIONS:
                        THE INFLUENCE OF
                       MELLISA HOLTZMAN, PH.D.*

                           I. INTRODUCTION

    Custody battle. Within popular culture, this phrase often evokes
images of mud-slinging ex-spouses who are fighting over their children,
often in highly contentious and potentially damaging public disputes. This,
of course, is but one reality. Custody battles do not always involve
extreme conflict, public spectacle, or even divorcing spouses. Frequently,
custody battles involve disputes between biological parents and individuals
who are euphemistically referred to as third parties'-unrelated adoptive
parents; stepparents; gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (GLBT)
coparents; foster parents; and relatives who have been rearing someone
else's children for extended periods of time.2 Importantly, these cases
introduce a level of complexity into the decision-making process that is not
present in custody disputes involving two divorcing, biological parents.
When biological parents divorce, judges are typically charged with
determining custody based on the child's best interests. Existing case law

Copyright © 2014, Mellisa Holtzman.
   * Mellisa Holtzman is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Ball State University. She
wishes to thank Kendal Kosta, Nora Hall, Rebecca Peters, Lindsey Yoder, Matthew Wright,
Owen McConnell, Jennifer Moore, Heather Nipper, and Kelsey Englert for valuable
research assistance. This research was supported by a grant from the National Science
Foundation, Law and Social Science and Sociology Programs (#0849681, Mellisa
Holtzman, PI) and a General Faculty Research Grant from Ball State University. Please
direct all correspondence to Mellisa Holtzman at mkholtzman@bsu.edu or the Department
of Sociology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306.
    1 Mellisa Holtzman, The Family Relations Doctrine: Extending Supreme Court
Precedent to Custody Disputes Between Biological and Nonbiological Parents, 51 FAM.
REL. 335, 335 (2002) [hereinafter Holtzman I].
   2 Throughout this Article, I refer to these individuals as nonbiological parents. A
nonbiological parent is an individual who is genetically unrelated to a child, but who has
functioned as a parent to that child via daily caregiving, emotional support, economic
assistance, shared residency, and so forth. See id.
   3 See Determining the Best Interests of the Child, CHILD WELFARE INFO. GATEWAY 1
(2012), https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/best-interest.pdf.

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