Platonic Parenting: An Emerging Social Concept (2021)

Category: Materials

Member Price: $8

Non-Member Price: $8

Product Code: M107421

Areas of Law: Family

CLE Credits



Hon. Lawrence R. Jones, JSC (Ret.)
Adjunct Professor, University of New Mexico
Lawrence R. Jones NM LLC, Bernalillo


Debra E. Guston, Esq.
Guston & Guston, LLP, Glen Rock
is a Partner in Guston & Guston, L.L.P. in Glen Rock, New Jersey. She concentrates her practice in family formation through adoption and assisted reproduction, and family protection through estate planning, estate litigation administration and guardianship for elders and special needs children. She also represents non-profit organizations in formation and governance issues.
nA Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys, Ms. Guston is Past President of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, serves as the Academy’s Adoption Director, and is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee, for which she has served as Chair of the Adoption and Reproductive Rights Subcommittee. She has served as President of the Board of Trustees of ACLU-NJ, where she has been Chair of the Nominating Committee, and has been a member of the Legal Professional Group of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Ms. Guston is Past President of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Greater New York, a former Regional Board member and Board Secretary of the National Gay and Lesbian Bar Association, and has been a member of the National LGBT Association’s Family Law Institute. Past Chair of the NJSBA LGBT Rights Section, she has also been a member of the American, Bergen County and Passaic County Bar Associations and Women Lawyers in Bergen County. Ms. Guston has served as New Jersey local counsel for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and worked on legislative issues involving the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Act, which was signed into law in 2018. She is a member of the Legal Professional Group of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and a volunteer advocate for RESOLVE, the National Fertility Association. She has been appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to the Family Practice Committee, which evaluates rule changes and other issues for referral to the high court, and has also been appointed to the Advisory Committee on Access and Fairness, and Judiciary Working Group on Pro Bono Assignments.
nA lecturer at Rutgers School of Law, Ms. Guston is a contributing editor to West Group’s Sexual Orientation and the Law and author of a portion of the Family Court Rules in LexisNexis’s New Jersey Court Rules Annotated 2008-2009. She is a frequent lecturer for community and professional groups, and has been an Associate Managing Editor of the New Jersey Lawyer. A CCAI Angel in Adoption recipient in 2017, she is the recipient of several other honors, including ICLE’s Distinguished Service Award, the E. Nathaniel Gates Award from the Cardozo School of Law, the Leading Practitioner Award bestowed by the National LGBT Bar Association and the Saul Tischler Award, the highest honor bestowed by the NJSBA Family Law Section for her work on behalf of families and service to the Bar.
nMs. Guston received her undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Mount Holyoke College, her M.A. from Emerson College and her J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

As family structures change and become more diverse and fluid, platonic parenting is increasing in popularity. Several well-known and established publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Week, have reported on the gradual growth of social interest in platonic parenting.

NJICLE is pleased to present its first-ever program on "platonic parenting" agreements and the various legal and emotional aspects of such arrangements. A "platonic parenting" agreement is a non-traditional arrangement when people agree to raise a child together without a romantic relationship. They may create a household or live separately, but they function as a parenting team. These parenting arrangements may develop formally or informally, but either way there may be significant legal issues that may arise, for attorneys and their clients to consider. The subject is of increasing relevance.

Our informative program explores this area of family formation. It will be of interest to attorneys who counsel clients who are either currently platonic parents or are thinking about possibly entering a platonic parenting relationship.

Topics for discussion include:

• Basics of a "Platonic Parenting" Arrangement
• Comparison to other Non-Traditional Parenting Arrangements
• Legal Issues and Considerations (Custody/parenting/financial, et al)
• Emotional Issues and Considerations
• Enforcement and Modification of Agreements
• Issues when there are more than two co-parents
• Growth of Platonic Parenting forums
• Miscellaneous Issues


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