Privileging biological or residential relationships: Family policy on obligations to children in 12 countries

Daniel, R. Meyer, Christine Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children’s living arrangements have become increasingly complex over the last decades, with more children born to parents who do not live together and, even among those born to parents who do live together, increasing numbers are experiencing their parents separating and one or both re-partnering. These changes raise questions about who has financial responsibility for the children. In this article we conceptualise how different child maintenance schemes might deal with six common family transitions, focusing on the extent to which responsibilities are organised according to biology or residence. We then investigate the child maintenance policies in place in 12 countries, and use the results to categorise countries into five child maintenance schemes. Finally, we compare the child maintenance scheme with the level of family complexity in each country to see if countries with the highest levels of complexity tend to organise responsibility differently.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-95
Number of pages17
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Societies
Issue number1
Early online date31 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Child Maintenance
  • family transitions
  • Comparative

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