Divorce and children

Ouders houden kinderschoenen samen vast

Given the adverse outcomes for children, parents and society at large, high conflict divorces are currently at the centre of attention for policy makers and the legislature. Many legal questions arise regarding these important social issues. What is the role of family law and of procedural law? Would altering the structure of divorce proceedings result in different outcomes? This highly complex question goes beyond the legal domain, which is why we cooperate with experts from other disciplines. By participating in such multidisciplinary teams we can provide better answers for these complex issues. In these matters, the strategic theme Dynamics of Youth plays an important role.

The ‘Hear, Hear’ project emerged from previous collaboration with Dynamics of Youth. UCERF researchers Charlotte Mol and Wendy Schrama work together with social scientists to study child participation in divorce agreements. Do children and young people get a say in these agreements? What role does participation play in relation to parent and child wellbeing? This research aims to map how child participation can best be given form at home, during mediation or in court.

This theme also includes a large-scale multidisciplinary research project concerning the effects of the ‘Pilot gezamenlijke toegang ouders (PGTO)’ (Pilot joint access for parents) at the courts in The Hague and Oost-Brabant that is undertaken by researchers from both legal (Wendy Schrama and Christina Jeppesen de Boer - UCERF) and social science disciplines. In 2019, a large-scale study by UCERF researchers, social scientists from Utrecht University and colleagues from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam into compliance with agreements on care and contact after divorce was published.

The authority of parents and guardians is of great importance and is characterised by the three-way relationship between the state, the parents and the child. Christina G. Jeppesen de Boer has been the specialist in this field since she received her PhD in 2008. Iris Reinders is conducting PhD Research into disputes in joint custody after divorce between parents regarding their child(ren).