Shared Physical Custody and Child Maintenance Arrangements: a comparative analysis of 13 countries using a model families approach

Mia Hakovirta, Christine Skinner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This book chapter provides new insights to the question of how child
maintenance policies have responded to changing post separation
family arrangements and most specifically shared physical custody
(SPC). We analyse how shared care is implemented and how it
operates in child maintenance policies in 13 countries: Australia,
Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, New Zealand,
Norway, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US. The comparative
analysis is based on vignette questionnaire collected in 2017. There
are differences in how countries have acknowledged and recognized
shared physical custody in their child maintenance policies. It varies
from complete annulment of obligations, to some countries making
finer grained adjustments to reduce child maintenance obligations
and yet others’ making no changes as a result of shared physical
custody, with the paying parent still having to provide the full amount
of child maintenance. It seems there is no standard practice and nor
do the different arrangements map easily onto child maintenance
scheme typology. The latter is surprising, as it might have been
expected that similarly structured child maintenance schemes would
treat shared physical custody in similar ways. This variability
demonstrates a lack of coherence across child maintenance policies
on how to deal with this phenomenon of greater gender equality in
post-separation parenting arrangements.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShared Physical Custody
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Theoretical and Empirical Insights in Custody Arrangements
EditorsLaura Bernardi, Dimitri Mortelmans
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9783030684792
ISBN (Print)9783030684815
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021

Publication series

NameEuropean Studies of Population

Bibliographical note

This post reviewed version was submitted on 20th April 2019 to the Book editors. It has yet to be accepted by those editors and sent for further approval to the publisher.


  • Joint Physical Custody
  • Child Maintenance
  • Comparative Analysis

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