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Title: Contact disputes: Narrative constructions of 'good' parents
Authors: Kaganas, F
Day Sclater, S
Keywords: Children's interests;Contact disputes;Family law;Family policy;Good parents;Welfare discourse
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Feminist Legal Studies, 12(1): 1 - 27, Jan 2004
Abstract: This paper explores contact disputes in England and Wales. We discuss the legal background as well as separating parents' experiences of contact disputes. Contact has been high on the agenda since the U.K. Government report, Making Contact Work, (2002) examined various means for facilitating contact between non-resident parents and their children. More recently, the issue has featured prominently in the headlines, largely as a result of the campaigning efforts of fathers' rights groups who complain of injustice and demand changes in the law. The idea that contact is necessary for children's well-being seems to have acquired the status of uncontestable truth. This paper examines the ways in which these ideas about children's interests have become embodied in a dominant welfare discourse that is embedded in law and informs policy thinking. Family law has long abhorred parental conflict, particularly that which involves the children. It is frequently assumed that conflict can be reduced if parents could be persuaded to accept the premises of the welfare discourse. In this paper, we consider how parents themselves, in talking about their experiences of contact disputes, makes sense of family law. We found that parents regularly invoke the welfare discourse in their talk, but they interpret it in unexpected ways. Often these interpretations fuel conflict rather than reducing it.
Description: The final version of this article may be accessed at the link below. © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
ISSN: 0966-3622
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