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Research project Fragmented child law – consequences of conflicting rules on child maintenance

Will the decrease in possibilities to get child maintenance support lead to an increase in parental conflicts and leading to economic issues becoming more dominant in custody issues?

This project aims at investigating the consequences of the amendment of the possibilities to get child maintenance by focusing on the implementation by Swedish courts. We will examine court orders on child maintenance, maintenance support as well as on custody/parental responsibility and we will analyze detailed statistics on relevant court cases before and after the amendment.

Project description

When a child is living mainly with one parent, the other parent is responsible to pay maintenance. This can be done as child maintenance through a court order or a private arrangement in accordance with the Parental Code or as child maintenance support administrated by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency in accordance with the Social Insurance Act. These two legal acts are not coordinated, nor do they seem to relate to the reality of post-separation family-life. The possibilities to receive child maintenance support was severely restricted 2016. A hypothesis is that the decrease in possibilities to get child maintenance support will lead to an increase in parental conflicts and leading to economic issues becoming more dominant in custody (parental responsibility) issues. This project aims at investigating the consequences of this amendment by focusing on the implementation by Swedish courts. We will examine court orders on child maintenance, maintenance support as well as on custody/parental responsibility and we will analyze detailed statistics on relevant court cases before and after the amendment.

The interdisciplinary project will relate questions on children’s maintenance to the somehow contradicting aims of the Swedish family policy, such as gender equality implying equal rights and responsibilities for care and economy among mothers and fathers, as well as a basic economic and social welfare for all families with children. These goals risk concealing gender aspects in the division of responsibility for children after a separation. The assumption of parental collaboration after separation, and the increased individual responsibility of such, also risk to negatively affect an already vulnerable group of parents, and ultimately their children. The complexity in the laws and its implementation is problematic in particular as the laws have different origin in private and public law.

Project members

Project managers

Members

Johanna Finnström

Phd student

Department of Sociology
Johanna Finnström

Johanna Schiratzki

Researcher

Department of Sociology
Johanna Schiratzki. Foto: Anne Rajmic.