This article addresses issues involving custodial parents after Dobbs. It first briefly describes the federal constitutional right to an interest in custodial parentage under pre-Dobbs U.S. Supreme Court precedents. It finds few precedents on defining parents at birth and no precedents on defining parentage arising from post-birth acts. The paper then reviews Dobbs, particularly its varying takes on unenumerated constitutional rights. Finally, it explores how Dobbs should influence future precedents on federal constitutional custodial parentage that arises either at birth or after birth. It urges federal courts to expand custodial parentage in light of societal changes in family structures within the Dobbs limits on unenumerated rights.
Jeffrey A. Parness, Dobbs and Unenumerated Parental Custody Rights and Interests, 14 ConLawNOW 117 (2023)