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The programme of the international workshop on shared custody is online

The workshop "Family dynamics and the changing landscape of shared custody in Europe" will take place at the University of Lausanne, IDHEAP Building, on December 14-15, 2017. It will bring together scholars from many renowned research institutions across Europe, as well as specialists of social policies and field practioners.

Divorce rates and separations are on the rise since a long time. They tend to stabilize on a high level throughout all European countries. Despite the long evolution of broken families, only the last decade has seen a radical shift in custody arrangements for children in divorced families. For a long time, mothers were considered to be the main socialization actor and fathers have been given visiting rights. A gender revolution is taking place, whereby fathers have asked and received an increasingly larger share of time to be spent with their children.

Despite this evolution, we do not possess a clear view on families in shared custody across Europe. What are the legal arrangements throughout Europe? What time allocation is considered “normal”? What kind of freedom do judges possess to decide on regulations? How do men act in their post-divorce roles? Are they a Disney-dad or rather a divorce-activated father? And what about mothers? Do they accept the decrease in time spent with their children? Do custody arrangements have an influence on their employment rates and career opportunities?


This workshop will host two keynote presentations, fourteen presentations and a round table gathering recorded experts.

On day 1, Benoit Laplante (INRS, Québec) will give a keynote talk on "Family Demography and Family Law: Interdependencies and Challenges for Shared Custody".

On day 2, Katharina Boele-Woelki (Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, and Chair of the Commission on European Family Law) will speak about "A European Model for Harmonizing the Law on Parental Responsibilities".

Other presenting participants come notably from the Université Catholique de Louvain, INED, EHESS, Stockholm University, University of Rostock, University Pompeu Fabra, University of Antwerp and University of Lausanne.

The round table on day 2 will propose a discussion among four experts on the following question: "Shall shared physical custody and alternating residence be pushed as the default arrangement for children after parental separation?"

  • Vittorio Carlo Vezzetti (European Platform for Joint Custody, Coparenting and Childhood, Italy)
  • Benoit Laplante (INRS, Canada)
  • Monika Pfaffinger (COFF, Switzerland)
  • Katharina Boele-Woelki (Bucerius Law School, Germany)

>> Full programme