Overcoming Obstacles to the Reform of Child Custody Laws: Integrating the Conceptual and the Practical
Hong Kong Law Journal, Vol. 44, Part 2, pp. 371-389, 2014
Posted: 23 Aug 2014
Date Written: April 30, 2014
The Hong Kong Law Reform Commission published its proposals for reform of child custody laws in 2005, recommending that the existing system of “custody” be replaced by “parental responsibility.” Since then, despite a public consultation process concluded in 2011, the outcome of which was generally supportive of the proposals for reform, the Administration has not yet introduced draft legislation. One reason given for this is the concern expressed by some consultees regarding the ongoing nature of parental responsibility of both parents towards their children, even after divorce, and the opportunity this presents for ongoing hostility and abuse between parties. However, those risks, while real, are not specific to a framework of parental responsibility and should not hinder its replacement of the outdated custody model. Instead, reform of child custody in Hong Kong should operate at two integrated levels: the conceptual: introducing parental responsibility, and the practical: establishing measures to be taken to address the need to diminish hostility and abuse and assist parents in moving towards co-operative parenting for the benefit of their child(ren).
Keywords: Family Law, Custody, Divorce, Hong Hong,Law Reform, Supervised Contact, Parental responsibility, Domestic Violence
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K30, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation