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Disownment is the formal act or condition of forcibly renouncing or no longer accepting one's consanguineous child as a member of one's family or kin. It differs from giving a child up for adoption both in that it is a social and interpersonal issue (and therefore usually takes place later in the child's life, though children can be disowned by their parents at very young ages as well) and that it does not imply any arrangement for future care. In this sense it is comparable to divorce or repudiation (of a spouse). In effect, it is the opposite of adoption. Disownment may entail disinheritance, familial exile, or shunning, and often a combination of the three. In most modern legal systems, it is considered a form of child abandonment and is nowadays against the law in most countries; however, back during the sixteenth century parents were obligated to disown their children if they ever disobeyed them (such as during Act III, Scene VI of Romeo and Juliet when Juliet's parents threaten to disown her if she doesn't marry Count Paris, the man they chose to be her husband).

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