Family Law and Personal Life

Paperback | January 9, 2008

byJohn Eekelaar

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How should our most intimate personal relationships be governed in a liberal society? Should the state encourage a particular model of family life, or support individuals in their pursuit of personal happiness? To what extent do people have the right to shape the lives of their offspring? Thisbook examines the questions at the heart of family law, rethinking the ideas that shape our understanding of the family as a social unit, its purpose, and the obligations and rights that belong to family members.The book explores how the governance of personal relationships has depended on the exercise of power, from the traditional assumptions of patriarchy, where the male head of the family enjoyed full control over his dependents and descendents, to the ideology of welfarism, where state institutionsprotect the interests of the vulnerable at the expense of their close relations. Emerging from these conflicting ideologies comes today's rights-based culture, where traditional expectations for behaviour within a family sit within a new emphasis on the ability of minorities and traditionaldependents to determine the shape of their own lives.Against this background of shifting power relations, the book explores the interrelationship between the legal regulation of people's personal lives and the values of friendship, truth, respect and responsibility. In doing this, a variety of controversial issues are examined in the light of thosevalues: including the legal regulation of gay and unmarried heterosexual relationships; freedom of procreation; state supervision over the exercise of parenthood; the role of fault in divorce law; the way parenthood is allocated; the rights and responsibilities of parents to control their children;the place of religion in the family; the rights of separated partners regarding property and of separated parents regarding their children. Throughout, the book offers a new picture of the intimacy at the centre of personal relationships and argues that only by understanding this intimacy, and itsrole in human happiness, can we arrive at a true framework for respecting, and governing, the personal lives of other people.

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From the Publisher

How should our most intimate personal relationships be governed in a liberal society? Should the state encourage a particular model of family life, or support individuals in their pursuit of personal happiness? To what extent do people have the right to shape the lives of their offspring? Thisbook examines the questions at the heart of...

John Eekelaar is Academic Director and Emeritus Fellow, Pembroke College, Oxford
Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.57 inPublished:January 9, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199535426

ISBN - 13:9780199535422

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPowerFriendshipTruthRespectResponsibilityRightsCommunity

Editorial Reviews

`Eekelaar's achievement in providing a succinct but coherent account, drawing on a vast range of scholarship, of such a diverse range fo issues, is truly remarkable; an dhis book will certainly be invaluable in increasing the understanding of what the law should properly seek to do and instimulating informed discussion...certainly once opened it will prove totally addictive.'Stephen Cretney, Family Law