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7 Child & Fam. L.J. 1 (2019)

handle is hein.journals/cflj7 and id is 1 raw text is: 











Paternity and  the Quasi-Marital Child


                             The Honorable  Diana  Tennis'

                        I. INTRODUCTION

     It is difficult to imagine the depth of feelings aroused by some
routine litigation. When that litigation centers on children and the
adults who  love them intensely, the result is often an emotional,
chaotic and  sometimes  toxic courtroom  mix.  Given  how  much
longer it takes to  complete  the appellate review  process, one
cannot help but think about the pain and turmoil the children (and
adults) suffered while some  of the herein cited cases made their
way  through our court system.
     When   reading  the  cases  themselves,  consider  that the
litigation likely took one to two years at the trial level, and often at
least that much  time working  its way  up through  one or more
levels of appeal. In some cases, the children have gone from being
toddlers to middle-schoolers by the time the courts determine their
lifelong legal parents. Sometimes   the legal result is that the
children no longer keep the parents they have loved since birth. To
say that the legal system is not equipped to deal with the emotional
quagmire  it creates in family cases is a drastic understatement.
Pointing out the structural problems inherent in utilizing a slow,
logic driven, paid-by-the-hour legal system to determine the family
dynamics  for children is not the purpose of this article. However,
the  author  hopes  that with  every  new   generation  of  legal
professionals we will come  closer to recognizing the harm being
done to our families and develop better practices and principles to
help families reorganize legally, and do so in an ever more child-
centered and emotionally healthy way.




* Circuit Court Judge, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Family Division, Orlando, Florida.
Special recognition for editing, drafting and education on all things grammar
belongs to Lisa Harris, JD and Attorney at Law, Orlando, Florida.


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