9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN14 Gender Relations in the Labour Market and the Welfare State

2009-09-05 15:30:00 2009-09-05 17:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 15:30 - 17:00 Work and Families II Building II, Auditório B1.03

Shared physical custody of children after divorce and labour market opportunities of parents

In Belgium, the law of July, 18th 2006, requires a judge to investigate the possibility of shared physical custody after relation dissolution when at least one parent requests this. The law implies an explicit preference for an equally shared physical custody of the children between both parents. The aim is to ameliorate the parent - child relationship but also to create equal job opportunities for both parents. The question remains whether the co-parenting settlement appears to be manageable on the long term and whether the formulated goals are indeed attained. Do co-parents succeed in realizing their intentions in the long term? And what are the financial and organizational consequences in respect to labor market activity? Is the financial burden indeed equally shared by both parents? And are the assumed effects of the co-parenting settlement on labor market opportunities real and if so, evenly distributed over both parents ? An extensive literature study in preparation of an empirical research provides some preliminary answers. Interviews with experts from different fields of expertise and with co-parents allow us to develop a first view on co-parenting as a daily practice. The obstacles and the impact of the settlement on the work-life balance are looked at. The success of the arrangement is intertwined with both the socio-economic profile of the parents, other life transitions and the co-parenting relation they engage in. Social structures and institutions can facilitate this when carefully deployed. The physical placement of the children however often differs from the settlement that was agreed upon at the time of the break-up.