Accepted Paper:

Until court do us part: co-parenting and heteronormative filiation after divorce  


Paloma Fernández-Rasines (Public University of Navarre)

Paper short abstract:

Ensuring shared parenting after a family break up seems to be the regular trend in court decisions nowadays. This contribution problematizes the most recent politics on co-parenting after divorce by asking how far it truly responds to a social demand for gender equality between mother and father.

Paper long abstract:

How legislation reforms are getting along with specific practices in the social realm after divorce? To what extent changes on joint legal responsibility, physical custody, and shared residence are affecting parental patterns?

This paper focuses on the regulatory development of joint physical custody and shared parenting after divorce to see how co-parenting practices may be leading to changes toward gender equality within bi-parental heteronormative family formations.

Beginning with a theoretical framework from anthropology of kinship and relatedness, feminist approaches allow us to analyze gender roles prevalence in family studies when handling contents like motherhood, fatherhood and marriage. A second part introduces the potentiality of law onto the discursive distinction between kinship, as legal realm, and parenting, as the praxis monitoring social practice. Third section focuses on joint physical custody and shared residence after divorce in the Spanish context, taking as reference previous experience in neighboring countries and including results from fieldwork done in Navarra, a Northern region in Spain.

It remains unclear whether the legal concept of joint custody responds to a major demand by a restrained new parenthood. Nor is it plausible to think that alone will serve as a template for new children-parent living arrangements that result more egalitarian in terms of gender. Whether the horizon is equal parental sharing among mother and father, more effective mechanisms should be implemented in order to foster equal participation of men and women in the labor market as well as in the unpaid work for care and childbearing.

Panel P011
Family and kinship in contemporary Southern Europe: transformations, convergences and variations in a macro-regional perspective