Document Type



The almost infinite variety of family relationships that pervade our everchanging society necessitate new forms of parentage for children with only one parent. These new forms arise long after the childrens’ births and are typically founded on the developed relationships between the children and their new second parents. Yet these informal adoptions leading to second parent childcare orders serve to diminish the superior parental rights of the existing parents. And these informal adoptions leading to second parent child support orders constitute property deprivations subject to due process limitations. To date the dangers in informal adoptions have not been well addressed and barely recognized. The constitutional interests of single and second parents (if not of their children and their family members) will only be properly respected if informal adoption laws are altered so as to include new eligibility standards; require clearer forms of consent to second parenthood; demand clear and convincing evidence for judicial recognitions of parental-like relationships between second parents and children; and, become better known, with special attention paid to educating about the significant interstate differences.

Publication Date


Original Citation

Jeffrey A. Parness, Dangers in De Facto Parenthood, 37 U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. 25 (2014).


College of Law

Legacy Department

College of Law



Rights Statement 2

Author(s) reserve all available rights in the Work. Permission is granted for individual digital or hard copies made without fee for use in academic classrooms and for use by individuals for personal research and study.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.