Family Law and the Indissolubility of Parenthood


Family Law and the Indissolubility of Parenthood
  • By Patrick Parkinson

  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

    Online Publication Date:March 2011

    Online ISBN:9780511921063

    Hardback ISBN:9780521116107

    Paperback ISBN:9781107614338

  • Book DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511921063

    Subjects: Family Law

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.


 Reviews:

"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




"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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