Document Type


Publication Date



Married couples can invoke the spousal testimonial privilege and the confidential marital communication privilege at trial which limit the circumstances under which one spouse must provide harmful testimony against the other spouse The purpose of these evidentiary privileges is traditionally explained as protecting the marital relationship A related but often overlooked goal of these privileges is child protection By fostering the stability of the marriage the marital privileges protect the couples offspring by preserving a setting that is beneficial to the healthy development of childrenUnmarried couples do not benefit from equivalent privileges Because evidentiary privileges are available only to married couples the evergrowing number of children raised by unmarried cohabitants lack the same protections from parental separation that children of married couples enjoy This article therefore proposes a new evidentiary privilege that would extend the protections of the marital privileges to unmarried cohabitants who are raising children Under this new cohabitingparent privilege the law would protect a larger number of children from the potential negative consequences of parental separation

First Page