Dalhousie Law Journal


legislation, shared parenting, family law, mothers, fathers, Australia, separation, payoffs, pitfalls


A fierce argument is raging in various jurisdictions around the world about whether legislation should encourage shared parenting when mothers and fathers live apart. Much attention has been paid to changes to the law in Australia in 2006; however, there are many myths about the impact of those legislative changes. This article explains the changes and places them in the context of developments across the western world in the law of parenting after separation. It then reviews the research evidence on the effects of the 2006 reforms, particularly in terms of the encouragement of shared care. The article concludes by considering what can be learned from the Australian experience both in terms of the payoffs and pitfalls of such legislation.

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