Stats / Research

“The best interests of a child are assured only by protecting the child’s psychological well-being as well as the child’s physical well-being.”

De Facto Parent Doctrine Nationwide

24 States and the District of Columbia have now adopted their own equivalents to the de facto parent doctrine, either by statute or judicial creation, using a variety of terms to refer to their definition of the de facto parent, including psychological parent, person acting in loco parentis, de facto parent, and parent by estoppel. [Children’s Legal Rights Journal Vol. 33 Adapting to the Modern Family.]

“Each state that has adopted a de facto or psychological parent doctrine has slightly different nuisances, but central to each of them, includes an analysis based on the length of the parent-child relationship, as well as the extent of the relationship and attachment…” [IN THE CASE OF BIOLOGY V. PSYCHOLOGY: WHERE DID MY “PARENT” GO?]

In spite of statutory differences varying state to state, one thing we can be sure of…each of the twenty-four states that have passed a De Facto law, were compelled to act when faced with the realization that their state statutes failed to protect thousands of children in each state.














  • The Fundamental Truth About Best Interests, (complete publication) Julia McLaughlin, Professor of Law, FL Coastal School of Law (appearing as a witness at the 09/21/2018 Joint Interim Judiciary Committee meeting)