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There are few areas of public policy in the Western world where there is as much turbulence as in family law. Often the disputes are seen in terms of an endless war between the genders. Reviewing developments over the last 30 years in North America, Europe, and Australasia, Patrick Parkinson argues that, rather than just being about gender, the conflicts in family law derive from the breakdown of the model on which divorce reform was predicated in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Experience has shown that although marriage may be freely dissoluble, parenthood is not. Dealing with the most difficult issues in family law, this book charts a path for law reform that recognizes that the family endures despite the separation of parents, while allowing room for people to make a fresh start and prioritizing the safety of all concerned when making decisions about parenting after separation.Read more
- Offers a major contribution to the debates about the future of family law in the Western world
- Reviews and compares the experience of many different countries and shows how they are grappling with the same problems and how solutions are converging
- Offers proposals for resolving the major conflicts in family law which rise above the gender war to offer another way forward
Reviews & endorsements
"Must reading for anyone interested in family law and policy. Professor Parkinson offers a comprehensive and compelling cross-national analysis of legislative efforts to recognize the indissolubility of parenthood and to foster the parent-child tie after family separation."
- Marsha Garrison
Secretary-General of the International Society of Family Law
Suzanne J. and Norman Miles Professor of Law
Brooklyn Law School
See more reviews
"Parkinson has done a masterful job of identifying international trends in family law over the past four decades. Focusing on the gradual but dramatic shift in the meaning of separation and divorce for its participants, family law, government, and society, Parkinson writes with clarity, objectivity and balance, and the perspective of many years as a legal scholar, researcher, and family law reformer. He demonstrates that the early assumption that divorce dissolved the family with children was neither realistic nor achievable. There was no “clean break” for parents. The central thesis of the book is that parenthood is indissoluble, that parents must transform their parenting relationship after separation but remain inextricably entwined. Reviewing legislation, gender conflict and advocacy, social science research, judicial decisions, and the particularly challenging issues of domestic violence, shared parenting, and relocation, Parkinson describes the fascinating and patchwork course of family law reform that has struggled to reconcile these two “irreconcilable conceptualizations” of divorce, of the tensions between individual autonomy and the enduring responsibility of parents to meet their children’s needs. The book makes a very significant contribution to the fields of family law and social science."
- Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D.
"The book is replete with memorable statements beginning in the Preface with the comment in reference to those not accepting that the world has changed, 'Canutian zeal might be admirable in some respects, but trying to hold back the waves is futile. It is better to learn to surf them.' What Professor Parkinson has done in this work is to provide the reader with the surfboard with which to ride the waves. No serious scholar of Family Law can afford not to read it. It puts developments of so many jurisdictions into context, as well as pointing the reader to a wealth of research around the Family Law world. On top of this it is challengingly thought provoking."
Nigel V. Lowe
Head of Cardiff Law School
"This interesting book is truly a solid piece of work at its best. It is indeed very thought-provoking and may benefit many kinds of readers. It is thus highly recommendable for anyone interested in post-divorce parenthood, especially since it is conducted in a comparative perspective."
- Professor Eva Ryrstedt
Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden
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- Date Published: February 2011
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521116107
- length: 302 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.57kg
- contains: 3 b/w illus. 1 table
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. Family Law and the Meaning of Divorce:
1. Family law and the issue of gender conflict
2. The divorce revolution and the process of allocation
Part II. Parenthood in the Enduring Family:
3. Redefining parenthood after separation
4. Reasons for the demise of sole custody
5. Shared parenting: the new frontier
Part III. Parents Forever? Issues about Post-Separation Parenting:
6. Violence, abuse and post-separation parenting
Part IV. The Family Law System and the Indissolubility of Parenthood:
8. Dispute resolution for the enduring family
9. Adjudication for the enduring family
Part V. Financial Transfers in the Enduring Family:
10. Child support and the obligations of parenthood
11. Spousal support and the feminization of poverty
Part VI. The Future of Family Law:
12. Between two conflicting views of divorce.
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