Rebuttable Legal Presumption of Shared Parenting Versus Rebuttable Legal Presumption Against Shared Parenting in Family Violence Situations: Contradictory or Complementary?

Session : Plenary 4: Intersection of Shared Parenting and Family Violence

  • Time : 1:45 pm PDT To 3:45 pm PDT on
  • Venue : Rebuttable Legal Presumption of Shared Parenting versus Rebuttable Legal Presumption Against Shared Parenting in Family Violence Situations: Contradictory or Complementary?

Full Abstract

Whereas shared parenting proponents, on the basis of scientific evidence concerning child outcomes in post-separation families, conclude that a rebuttable legal presumption in favour of shared parenting is commensurate with the well-being best interests of the majority of children, women’s advocates have disavowed the notion of shared parenting, arguing that a rebuttable legal presumption against shared parenting best protects women and children in post-separation families. These two presumptions are typically understood to be diametrically opposed recommendations, and the rights and best interests of children on the one hand and abused spouses on the other are set in opposition to each other. This presentation will challenge the notion that these two presumptions are fundamentally opposed, and makes the case that they are in fact complementary; indeed, the rights and needs of children and abused spouses cannot be separated, and it is in the interests of both that family law establishes a criterion of child custody determination that fully addresses the needs for protection of vulnerable parents and children in situations of family violence, while at the same time ensuring that parents’ and children’s needs for meaningful parent-child relationships are equally protected.