Legal Capacity at a Crossroad: Mental Disability and Family Law

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In this introductory essay to the Special Issue, I argue that both family law and disability rights law scholars should examine a key point of intersection across areas: legal capacity or the law's recognition of the rights and responsibilities of an individual. For example, parental termination proceedings center on parental fitness and functional capabilities. I contextualize the articles in the Special Issue by Leslie Francis and Robyn Powell on the role of reasonable accommodations for parents with disabilities in parental termination proceedings. In addition, I call upon legal scholars, family law courts, and practitioners to reimagine governing legal standards in family law according to principles of universal design to shift the baseline capabilities associated with parenting and parental fitness.


Americans with Disabilities Act, disability law, family law, mental disability, legal capacity, parental rights, parental fitness, parental termination proceedings, family court

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Family Court Review