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Family & Law

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Access_open Formerly cohabiting parents and parenting plans: Who makes the effort?

Authors Simon de Bruijn Msc, dr. Anne-Rigt Poortman and Prof. dr. ir Tanja van der Lippe
AbstractAuthor's information

    When the Promotion of Continued Parenting and Proper Divorce Act came into force on March 2009 both married and cohabiting Dutch parents of minor children were obliged to draw up a parenting plan when they separate. Parenting plans are not enforceable for cohabiters, however. Using data from the New Families in the Netherlands survey, we examine how many former cohabiters create a parenting plan and how this compares to the number of verbal or no arrangements. We expect that child, parents and relationship characteristics are important for the likelihood that a parenting plan is constructed. Results show that more than half of former cohabiters create a parenting plan. Furthermore, former cohabiters are more likely to draw up a parenting plan if they consult a legal practitioner during their separation process. In addition, the younger the youngest child is, the more likely that former cohabiters will create a parenting plan or make verbal arrangements rather than no arrangements. That is also true for higher educated households and if they opt for residential co-parenting after divorce. Former cohabiters in a high-conflict situation are less likely to develop a parenting plan than make no arrangements.


Simon de Bruijn Msc
Simon de Bruijn is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Sociology and Research School (ICS) of Utrecht University. His research interests include divorce and post-divorce arrangements.

dr. Anne-Rigt Poortman
Anne-Rigt Poortman is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology and Research School (ICS) of Utrecht University. She received her Ph.D. at Utrecht University in 2002. Her main research interests are divorce and separation, new relationship types and legal aspects of partner relationships.

Prof. dr. ir Tanja van der Lippe
Tanja van der Lippe is a Professor of Sociology of Households and Employment Relations at the Department of Sociology and Research School (ICS) of Utrecht University. She is the head of the Department of Sociology and research director of ICS Utrecht. Her research interests are in the area of work-family linkages in Dutch and other societies.

    This report discusses the interesting remarks and conclusions made by the speakers at the ERA seminar, ‘Recent Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights in Family Law Matters’, which took place in Strasbourg on 11-12 February 2016. The report starts with a brief discussion on the shifting notion of ‘family life’ in the case law of the ECtHR, then turns to best interests of the child in international child abduction cases, the Court’s recognition of LGBT rights and finally the spectrum of challenges regarding reproductive rights in the Court’s case law. The overarching general trend is that the Court is increasingly faced with issues concerning non-traditional forms of family and with issues caused by the internationalisation of families. How this is seen in the Court’s recent case law and how it effects the various areas of family law is discussed in this report.


Charlotte Mol LL.B.
Charlotte Mol is a Legal Research Master student at the University of Utrecht, where she specializes in family law and private international law. She has assisted the Commission on European Family Law with the editing of the comparative study on informal relationships. As a guest student she visited the University of Antwerp for two months, where she researched the best interests of the child in international child abduction cases in collaboration with, and under the supervision of, Prof. Thalia Kruger. She holds a European Law School LL.B. from Maastricht University.

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Frederik Swennen, Contractualisation of Family Law in Continental Europe, F&L July - September 2013, DOI: 10.5553/FenR/000008. www.familyandlaw.eu/doi/10.5553/FenR/.000008 (Last accessed: …)