The Payoffs and Pitfalls of Laws that Encourage Shared Parenting: Lessons from the Australian Experience

Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 301-343, 2014

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 14/47

44 Pages Posted: 20 May 2014 Last revised: 19 Nov 2014

Date Written: May 18, 2014

Abstract

This article reviews the Australian experience since 2006, when the Parliament amended the Family Law Act 1975 to require courts to consider shared care arrangements under certain circumstances when parents live apart. The Australian legislation has been controversial, but also much misunderstood. The article explains the background to the Australian legislative reforms and places them in the context of international developments. It reviews the substantial body of research on the outcomes of those reforms, challenging some myths and correcting some misunderstandings. There were certainly problems with the Australian legislation. However, there have also been demonstrable benefits from the Australian reforms as a whole. The article concludes with recommendations for how governments can achieve the payoffs, and avoid the pitfalls, in such legislative reform.

Keywords: Family law, parents, children, shared parenting, law reform, Australia, family violence

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Parkinson, Patrick, The Payoffs and Pitfalls of Laws that Encourage Shared Parenting: Lessons from the Australian Experience (May 18, 2014). Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 301-343, 2014; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 14/47. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2438494

Patrick Parkinson (Contact Author)

University of Queensland ( email )

Forgan Smith Building
The University of Queensland
St Lucia, Queensland 4072
Australia

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