de Beer & Associates, P.A.

free initial consultations | email Us

local: (651) 714-2378

Family matters: Private affairs with broad social implications

Privacy is a precious thing. It's interesting therefore to note, as the Cornell University Law School does, that the right to privacy is not explicitly guaranteed under the Constitution. Rather, it is something that is inferred and over the course of U.S. history has come to be widely acknowledged as valid.

But scholars also acknowledge that the extent of that right is something that has to be balanced against the interests of society as a whole. If honoring individual privacy is taken to a level where it threatens public morals, quality of life or someone's psychological well-being, the argument could be made that privacy has to give way for the greater good.

The area of family law is one that tends to operate at the crossroads of this issue. It's easy to appreciate the view that when a couple marries or divorces it's strictly personal. But then there is also the position that when such actions are taken, they are felt across the rest of society.

In Minnesota, property accumulated in marriage faces equitable division in divorce and how that happens can have effects beyond the family. Ensuring the best interests of children touched by divorce is seen as affecting society and is one reason the law requires the state to sign off on child custody and support plans parents develop.

It is because of these connections that a recent proposal from the U.S. Census Bureau has spurred an outcry from a broad audience of interested parties. The idea being floated is the deletion of a number of divorce and marriage questions from the annual American Community Survey. Bureau officials say they don't yield much useful information.

But opponents beg to differ. Researchers say the ACS supplies the most accurate and current data possible on marriage and divorce and is about the only source of its kind -- helping spot social trends that affect families. The experts say it also is important data in terms of assessing demands on Social Security -- a particularly sensitive issue right now.

So what do you think? Are the effects of marriage and divorce on society enough to keep tracking the data, or should such questions be dropped from the poll?

Source: CNN Money, "Should we stop tracking the divorce rate?" Kathryn Vasel, Jan. 8, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information