Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2007

Publication Title

University of Toledo Law Review


non-marital children, inheritance, property law


Average U.S. citizens are routinely having children out of wedlock. In America, at least one out of every three babies born is a non-marital child. As more and more children continue to be born out of wedlock, society must enact laws to protect the interests of those children. They are the children of men and they are entitled to financial support both during the lives and after the deaths of their parents.

Part II of this article briefly discusses the historical treatment of non-marital children. Part Ill explores the modem legal treatment of non-marital children, which consists of three distinct sections. The first section includes an analysis of several U.S. Supreme Court decisions setting forth the legal rights of non-marital children that flow from the parent-child relationship. The second section presents a comprehensive analysis of the manner in which the fifty states and the District of Columbia have dealt with the inheritance rights of non-marital children. Part III concludes with a section discussing the Uniform Parentage Act ("UPA")'s attempt to give non-marital children the opportunity to inherit from their fathers. Finally, Part IV of this article proposes changes necessary to make the intestacy system more uniform, flexible and equitable.