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Child Custody, Law and Women's Work

ISBN13: 9780195409185
ISBN: 0195409183
Published: November 2003
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Format: Paperback
Price: Out of print

Child Custody, Law, and Women's Work Reform of child custody law has been a controversial topic in Canada since the mid-1980s. Within her book Susan Boyd argues that debates over child custody issues are rooted in gender-based dynamics within the family and society. She examines how custody law has evolved over the past two centuries, with a focus on the relationship between the law and gender relations-in particular, the power relations between women and men in the heterosexual family; the dominant ideologies about motherhood, fatherhood, and family; and the differential value attributed to men's and women's work, in both private and public spheres. Overall, this essential text questions the extent to which reform of child custody law on its own can lead to effective social transformation of parenting.

Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. Child Custody Law, Gender, and Difference: Shifting Relations; Introduction; Feminist Analysis of Child Custody Law: The Difference That Gender Makes; Differences Among Women: Complicating Feminist Analysis; Conclusion and Outline of the Book; 2. Paternal Rights: From Absolute to Presumptive Power in the Nineteenth Century; Introduction; The Early Law; The Legislatures: Incremental Change; The Ideological and Socio-Economic Context for Change; The Courts: A Terrain of Struggle; Conclusion; 3. Law's Cautious Endorsement: Maternal Rights to Custody, 1900-1970; Introduction; Socio-Economic Context; Judicial Interpretations: Equivocating on Maternal Equality; Judicial Resistance to Maternal Claims; The Ties That Bind; Moral Mandates; The (Slow) Rise of the Tender Years Doctrine; Conclusion; 4. Shifting Discourses: Public Equality/Private Confusion (the 1970s); Introduction; Divorce Rates, the Women's Movement, and Shared Parenting; The Changing, but Uneven, Statutory Framework; Moving Away from Sex-Based Guidelines? Tender Years and the Talsky Decisions; How Many Ways Could Mothers Lose Custody?; Adultery; Leaving a Good Marriage: The Legacy of Re L; Leaving Children Behind; Women's Work and Men's Work; Material Resources; Challenges to the Heterosexual Familial Norm: Lesbian Mothers; Conclusion; 5. Equality Discourse and the 'Modern' Family: The 1980s; Introduction; Statistics in Context; The Ideology of Equality; Equality Discourse, 'Modern' Marriage, and the Best Interests of the Child; The Shifting, Continuing, Sexual Division of Labour; The Employment Cases; The Appeal of Joint Custody and the Rise of Therapeutic Divorce; Doubting Mothers: Abuse Allegations; Conclusion: Good Fathers?; 6. The Rising Emphasis on Contact with Fathers: Expanding Access and Maternal Responsibilities; Intrdouction; Trends in Custody and Access Law: Enlarging Access, Shrinking Custody; Custody, Access, and Relocation: Canadian Trends; Gender Neutral and Gendering Discourses in Gordon v. Goertz; Mother: Different Position, Different Onus; Father: Equality and the Selfless Father; Children's Lawyer of Ontario: Only the Child Matters; LEAF and Gendered Discourses: Rescuing the Famous Disappearing Mother; The Supreme Court of Canada Majority Decision: Gender Nowhere in Sight; Madame Justice L'Heureux-Dube: A Minority Opinion; The Rise of Access and the Disciplining of Custodial Mothers; Conclusion; 7. A Feminist Strategy: Potentialities and Perils of Emphasizing Primary Care; Introduction; For a Primary Caregiver Presumption: Countering the Invisibility of Caregiving; Against the Primary Caregiver Presumption: Indeterminacy Reaffirmed; Canadian Judicial Discourse on Primary Caregiving; Can Judges Recognize Women's Caregiving Work?; Limits of a presumption: Race, Culture, Disability, Sexuality..; The Limits of Law in Challenging the Privatized, Gendered Nature of Caregiving; Conclusion; 8. W(h)ither Motherhood, W(h)ither Feminism: Law Reform De