This article addresses the constitutionality of those statutes known as "parental support laws" or "relative support statutes" in light of the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution. These statutes impose upon a person the duty to support an indigent parent or other impoverished relatives. This article focuses only on the statutory duty of children-under threat of punishment-to support indigent parents. In order to pass Constitutional muster under the requirements of the equal protection clause, there must be established at least a rational relationship between the class designated by the statute and the objective of the statute; that is, there must be a nexus between the burdened class and the objectives of the statute which singles out that class from society. We have assumed that fundamental rights requiring strict scrutiny for equal protection analysis are not involved in evaluating these statutes, and that only a rational basis is required to support the statutes.
Martin R. Levy & Sara W. Gross,
Constitutional Implications of Parental Support Laws,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol13/iss3/5