Fathers' Rights in Swedish Family Law Reform: Taking Account of Fathers' Violence Against Mothers
2016 (English)In: Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, ISSN 0832-8781, E-ISSN 1911-0235, Vol. 28, no 1, 152-181 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
A strong assumption in Swedish family law that shared parenting and parentalcooperation post-separation or divorce are preferred creates, as in many otherjurisdictions, problems for mothers who try to protect themselves and their childrenfrom violent fathers. Changes in law during the last decade have, however,weakened the assumption that joint custody and extensive contact with violentfathers are the normal legal outcomes. This article analyzes how fathers’ rights discourses since 2006 have been visible in, and influenced by, Swedish law reformprocesses on child custody and related issues, taking particular account of thecontext of fathers’ violence against mothers. In the analysis, fathers’ violenceagainst mothers is situated within a Swedish gender equality context, and fourdomains of law and policy that are related to fathers’ violence against mothersare delineated as an analytical framework in order to understand the dynamicsof fathers’ rights discourses in relation to the law reforms. The study shows thatfathers’ rights groups have been active and that their discourses are visible in thelegislative documents but that the space for fathers’ rights discourses has beensomewhat restricted in law reforms since 2006. However, the author argues thatthe four law and policy domains seem to lack the ability to counteract fathers’rights discourses regarding economic issues. Moreover, discourses on children’srights, interests, protection, and well-being that are present within all domainshave been more influential on the outcomes of the reforms than gendered discourseson fathers’ violence against mothers. Even though gendered discourses onviolence seem to have played a role in counteracting fathers’ rights discourses,gendered discourses have struggled at the same time to influence several domainsrelated to fathers’ violence against mothers.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016. Vol. 28, no 1, 152-181 p.
gender, violence, family law, fathers' rights
Law and Society
Research subject Law
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-121742DOI: 10.3138/cjwl.28.1.152ISI: 000374882500007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-121742DiVA: diva2:934064