Faculty Scholarship

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2009


In Families Redefined: Kinship Groups that Deserve Benefits, the authors examine 1) the nature of kinship families, 2) the benefits accorded to married couples, 3) kinship families that lack protection and benefits, 4) the impact of denying kinship families protection and benefits, 5) the use of contract law in kinship relationships, and 6) using legislation to benefit kinship relationships.

This exploration of expanding family law protections to kinship groups addresses a series of interrelated topics. The first two sections of the article explore the characteristics and creation of kinship families in different societies. The third section addresses the legal benefits provided by marriage, while the fourth and fifth sections examine, respectively, the types of kinship relationships that should have similar benefits and the effect of denying such benefits. The next two sections present legal solutions that propose using contract law and adopting legislation to provide legal protection and benefits to kinship units.

Accordingly, the article advocates for the expansion of legal concepts of family to include kinship relationships by comparing the treatment of these issues in various states and nations. In this manner, the authors support a new definition of family that goes beyond conjugal arrangements.


This article was originally published in the Mississippi Law Journal of the University of Mississippi School of Law.

An electronic copy of the article has been made available in this electronic Repository with permission from the author(s) under the doctrine of fair use for nonprofit educational purposes.