Natural mothers, putative fathers and innocent children: the regulation and definition of familial relationships outside marriage in postwar England

Fink, Janet (2000). Natural mothers, putative fathers and innocent children: the regulation and definition of familial relationships outside marriage in postwar England. Journal of Family History, 25(2) pp. 178–195.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/036319900002500203

Abstract

This article investigates how, during the 1950s, English legislative reform relating to the issues of affiliation, adoption, and legitimacy was influential in redefining the rights and responsibilities of parental relationships that lay outside and across the boundaries of marriage. The problems and debates that arose from the implementation of these reforms are used to illustrate the centrality that the ideals of monogamous marriage and the nuclear family had in the conceptualization of such relationships. They are also drawn upon to demonstrate the contradictions and paradoxes that arose from attempts to define the meaning of parenthood for mothers and fathers not attached through a marital relationship.

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