Ann-Zofie Duvander in collaboration with Johanna Schiratzki and Johanna Finnström

When a child is living mainly with one parent, the other parent is responsible to pay maintenance. This can be done as child maintenance allowance 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. We ask whether the decrease in possibilities to get child maintenance support will lead to an increase in parental conflicts and to economic issues becoming more dominant in custody issues. We focus on perhaps the most severe cases of non-agreement between parents by examining court orders on child maintenance allowance, child maintenance support as well as on custody cases.

We will perform qualitative coding of a substantial number of court order with the aim to perform statistical analysis on the material. The interdisciplinary project between law and sociology 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. At the seminar very preliminary results will be presented and the set up of the project discussed.