Copyright (c) 2007 The University of Toledo
The University of Toledo Law Review
ARTICLE: CHILDREN OF MEN: BALANCING THE INHERITANCE RIGHTS OF MARITAL AND NON-MARITAL CHILDREN*
39 U. Tol. L. Rev. 1
CHILDREN born out of wedlock were once the exception to the rule. They were called bastards and their rights were largely ignored. Today, however, having children out of wedlock has become commonplace in the United States. For instance, the media and the public waited anxiously for the non-marital children of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as well as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to be born. 1 The anticipated births received media coverage usually reserved for events like the presidential election and the Academy Awards. 2 However, the trend to have children without the benefit of marriage is not limited to celebrities. 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. 3 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.
Morality aside, the parental decision to have a child out of wedlock is a choice that can create grave legal consequences for the non-marital child. The intestate succession system was designed to give preferential treatment to a decedent's children by ensuring that they receive the bulk of his or her estate. 4 Nevertheless, when it comes to inheriting from his or her parents, a non-marital child is not necessarily created equal ...
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