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The Parental Obligation

A Study of Parenthood Across Households

By: Mavis Maclean, John Eekelaar
Media of The Parental Obligation
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Published: 01-08-1997
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 184
ISBN: 9781901362220
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £85.00
Online price : £76.50
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Loren Epson

About The Parental Obligation

What kinds of obligations do parents have towards their children as family life becomes more complex? Many children pass through a number of different households,living with one or both parents and later step parents and step brothers and sisters. How are the new forms of family life accommodated in the legal system? The answer is that parenthood, rather than marriage, is now emerging as the central mechanism through which moral principles are converted into legal and social obligations.

This study of 250 children who do not live with both of their parents shows, however, that despite the comparative legal emptiness of marriage, the experience of living longer with both parents than is usually the case of children of cohabiting or single parents endows the child with social capital in the form of enduring involvement with the outside parent, even after divorce, and that this happens to a greater extent than for children whose parents were not married.


“Maclean and Eekelaar's exploration of social and biological parenthood is thought-provoking and full of insights.” –  Bren Neale, Social Policy

The Parental Obligation is an extremely useful addition to our understanding ...which will no doubt stimulate further research and thought.” –  Jonathan Herring, Cambridge Law Journal

“... the book is based on methodologically rigorous empirical research and meticulous scholarship, and is well worth reading.” –  Christine Piper, Family Law

“This book should certainly be on the reading list of anyone considering the current debate about the parenting of children of lone parents” –  The Review Editor, New Law Journal

“It is clear, accessible, and adds authoritatively to the growing and impressive canon of work in this area.” –  Simon Jolly, International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

“The book is stimulating and thought-provoking.” –  Professor John Dewar, Queensland Law Society Journal, Proctor

“This is an important and timely book.. It complements and extends the invaluable socio-legal work Maclean and Eekelaar have been undertaking for many years on parenting and divorce, and provides much needed empirical data.” –  Jennifer Mason, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law

“The Parental Obligation is thought provoking, and as promised, the study does raise important new questions against which current knowledge should be viewed.” –  Anna Byas, Alternative Law Journal

“...a most valuable contribution to the debate about the nature of the obligations of parenthood chiefly because of its attempt to stimulate lateral thinking which takes on board the complexity and fluidity of family relationships.” –  Andrew Bainham, Journal of Law and Society

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