Unmarried Fathers and Parental Responsibility: a Case for Reform?

Sheldon, Sally (2001) Unmarried Fathers and Parental Responsibility: a Case for Reform? Feminist Legal Studies, 9 (2). pp. 93-118. ISSN 0966-3622. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1016701220289) (Full text available)

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“ Following a Consultation exercise conducted by the Lord Chancellor's Department, the British Government has announced its intention to amend the Children Act 1989 so that the unmarried father who jointly registers the birth with the mother will acquire parental responsibility automatically. In this paper, I draw on the responses made to the L.C.D. Consultation, in order critically to evaluate the arguments for and against reform. A poverty of relevant empirical research makes it impossible to reach a properly informed view on the positive or negative impacts of implementing the proposal. However, the principled arguments: that unmarried fathers and their children are subject to discrimination, or that it is unfair for men to pay child support, yet have no automatic rights with regard to their children, are ultimately unconvincing. I also attempt a more explicitly sociological exploration of the Consultation and reform process, focusing on what it can tell us about evolving social attitudes towards the statuses of 'father' and 'family' and how they should be valued and protected.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Uncontrolled keywords: equality, families, family law, fatherhood, parent with care, parental responsibility, parental rights, unmarried fathers
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Law School
Depositing User: A. Davies
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 18:57 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2016 10:06 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/1452 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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