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Accepted Paper:

A family in two homes. Joint shared custody in children’s perspective.  
Maria Reimann (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

In Poland, joint physical custody (JPC) is a new phenomenon both in legal system and in the everyday practice of families. I asked children who live in JPC about family and home. Most of the children seem to think about their families not as "broken" bur rather as one family divided into two homes.

Paper long abstract:

Joint physical custody (JPC) is a new phenomenon both in Polish legal system and in the everyday practice of Polish families. Protecting child’s best interest has become the ground rule of the Polish family law. However, what is considered to be “in the best interest of the child” is contextual and often used by the adults to reproduce power relations (Monk 2010). The debate on JPC is very heated and both sides use the best interest of the child as their main argument. The proponents believe JPC grants the children the right to be cared for by both parents, the opponents argue that frequent moving between parent’s places deprives the children form stability and having a true home which leads to emotional harm.

I would like to present findings of ethnographic research on JPC I’ve been conducting since 2021. I interviewed 21 children and teenagers (between eight and eighteen years old), who had lived in JPC for at least year. I focus on what children who live in two homes think about home and belonging and how they understand and do family. Most of the children/teenagers seemed to think about “family” and “home” in a different way than the “adult world”. The children I spoke to don’t think about their families as “broken”, but rather see them as still one family (their family) living in separate homes (their homes). At the same time, children are aware that their families are often considered inferior, which sometimes is emotionally difficult for them.

Panel Narr01
Family as a safe haven? Families in social practice and narratives in times of crises
  Session 2 Saturday 10 June, 2023, -