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  4. From Partners to Joint Parents




From Partners to Joint Parents




Speaker: Dr Ayelet Blecher-Prigat - Sha'arei Mishpat Law School in Israel

Series: The City Law School research seminar series


This Article is part of an ongoing project on the relationship joint parenthood creates between the adults who share it, and the legal implications that should arise from this relationship. The claim that underpins this project is that parenthood is not merely a vertical relationship between an adult parent and a child, but also a horizontal relationship between the adults who share it. It is further argued that the law should redefine its interest in family relationships between adults. Instead of marriage, conjugality, or partnership, the relationship created by joint parenthood should be a significant factor in defining family relationships between adults and their legal implications.

Defining family relationships between adults based on their being joint parents places long-term commitment, nurture and care (for children) rather than romantic love and sexual affiliation at the center of family law. In addition, focusing on joint parenthood better fits with today's reality of family life, where the conjugal bond between a man and a woman does not constitute the basic relationship of a family. Last, shifting attention to joint parenthood better corresponds to feminist concerns about the family and family law, since in today's "post-egalitarian" world, women's greater financial vulnerability within family relationships is mainly the result of their roles as primary caretaker of their children. In other words, it is the parenthood relationship, more than the intimate partnership as such, that is the source of women's continuing financial vulnerability.

The article suggests that joint parenthood should create financial obligations between parents who share it, since caring for children and the costs of such care are the joint responsibility of a child's parents. It refers to childrearing costs not only as the actual money spent on providing necessities for children, but also as including the personal costs that parenthood exacts in terms of the impairment of earning capacity. It is argued that existing legal frameworks of property division, child support, and alimony fail to adequately address the allocation of childrearing costs between joint parents. It thus calls for recognizing a new legal framework to address the financial obligations stemming from joint parenthood. The following parts of the project will address the various theoretical dilemmas and practical difficulties which arise in attempting to translate the idea of creating a legal category that refers to the costs of childrearing into working legal rules.


Dr Ayelet Blecher-PrigatDr. Ayelet Blecher-Prigat is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) and Co-Director of The Centre for the Rights of the Child and the Family at the Sha'arei Mishpat Law School in Israel. She obtained her JSD (2005) and LL.M. (Kent scholar 1999) from Columbia Law School. Her LL.B. (magna cum laude) is from the Tel-Aviv University (1997). Prior to turning to academic career, Dr. Blecher-Prigat clerked for the Israeli Supreme Court Justice Strasberg-Cohen. Dr. Blecher-Prigat's research focuses on various aspects of family law, children's rights, and inheritance law. She is also co-editor of The Family in Law Journal, a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal (in Hebrew). Dr. Blecher-Prigat is also an academic director of the Israeli Bar's continuing legal education workshops on inheritance and family law and she is a frequent lecturer in these workshops.

More about Dr Blecher-Prigat's latest publications.

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When and where

1.00pm - 3.00pmWednesday 4th March 2015

AG02 College Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1V 4PB United Kingdom

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