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Obligation and Commitment in Family Law

By: Gillian Douglas
Media of Obligation and Commitment in Family Law
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Published: 19-04-2018
Format: EPUB eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 304
ISBN: 9781782258537
Imprint: Hart Publishing
RRP: £31.50
Online price : £25.20
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About Obligation and Commitment in Family Law

A tension lies at the heart of family law. Expressed in the language of rights and duties, it seeks to impose enforceable obligations on individuals linked to each other by ties that are usually regarded as based on love or blood. Taking a contextual approach that draws on history, sociology and social policy as well as law and legal theory, this book examines the concept of obligation as it has been developed in family law and the difficulties the law has had in translating it from a theoretical and ideological concept into the basis of enforceable actions and duties. Increasingly, the idea of commitment has been offered as the key organising principle for the recognition of family relationships, often as a means of rebutting claims that family ties are becoming attenuated, but the meaning and scope of this concept have not been explored. The book traces how the notion of commitment is understood and how far it has come to be used as a rationale for imposing the core legal obligations which underpin care and caring within families.

Table Of Contents

1. The Ties that Bind?
I. Introduction
II. Care and Caring
III. Legal Obligation
IV. Obligation as a Social Norm
VI. The Rationale for Obligations Upon Family Members
VII. Obligation or Commitment
2. Family Change and Individual Commitment
I. Family Changes
II. A Demographic Picture
III. From the Family to the Individual
IV. Change and Commitment
3. To Have and To Hold
I. Compelling Cohabitation
II. The Concept of Consortium
III. The Suit for Restitution of Conjugal Rights
IV. The Modern 'Duty' of Cohabitation
V. Marriage as Personal Commitment
4. A Clean Break
I. A Duty to Maintain
II. Maintenance During Marriage
III. Post-Divorce Maintenance and the Clean Break
IV. Triumph of the Clean Break?
5. Can't Pay? Won't Pay!
I. Duty to State, Mother or Child?
II. Limiting the Burden on the State
III. Protecting the Position of Mothers
IV. Supporting the Child
V. A Culture of Non-Compliance
6. Parenthood is for Life
I. Obligation or Right?
II. Paternal Right and Maternal Concession
III. A Right of Both Parents
IV. A Right of the Child
V. A Parental Responsibility
VI. Enforcing Contact
VII. A Presumption of Continuing Parental Involvement
VIII. An Obligation to be 'Involved'?
7. Who Cares?
I. Care-Giving as an Obligation
II. Care-Giving as a Claim to a Remedy
III. Caring Relationships
IV. Recognition of Caring Relationships, or Recognition of Care?
8. The Law of Family Obligations
I. Care, Obligation and Commitment
II. Altruism, Family Obligation and Non-Justiciability
III. The Gendered Legal Approach to the Family Unit
IV. Obligations and Commitments in Family Law
V. Obligation and Commitment


“Douglas provides an insightful overview of the changes in family demography and their impact on family law, which presents a good snapshot of the radical transformation to social life in the UK... Overall, the book is clearly presented and well written. It is essential reading for family law scholars.” –  Henry Kha, Macquarie University, The Cambridge Law Journal

“There are many different ways in which one can approach this subject, and individual preferences will vary. The one chosen by Gillian Douglas has yielded many insights and also allowed a masterly exposition of relevant law. It is a most valuable addition to the literature.” –  John Eekelaar, Pembroke College, Oxford, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law

“Douglas concludes this fascinating book by highlighting, first, her original observation about the ill-fit of emotion and personal commitment within the legal domain and second, the way in which modern law's celebration of individualism and individual emotional fulfilment has tended to favour men and not women or children... Douglas's arguments are compelling and her analysis offers family lawyers a way of understanding both the successes and failures in reform of family law and policy over the last century.” –  Alison Diduck, UCL, Journal of Law and Society

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