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The organization of family life in American society has changed dramatically in recent decades. Changing societal morals and increases in divorce rates mean that fewer households are organized around the traditional nuclear family model. Courts have struggled to understand and classify these alternative family arrangements, and most have denied recovery in actions for loss of consortium by nontnarried cohabitants. This Note argues that changes in related areas of law and in the loss of consortium doctrine itself indicate that nonrnarried cohabitants should be allowed to recover. Specifically, jtalicial understanding of the purpose of loss of consortium recovery has shifted, and nonnaarried cohabitants have been allowed to recover in closely analogous actions such as negligent infliction of emotional distress. This Note proposes adoption of a standard similar to the one employed in negligent infliction of emotional distress actions. Such a standard provides a framework to determine whether damage to a relationship is severe enough to be compensable, while still providing adequate safeguards to prevent a wave of frivolous suits.

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Family Law Commons