The right to divorce is a symbol of individual liberty and gender equality under the law, but in practice it is anything but equitable. Family Law in Action reveals the class and gender inequalities embedded in the process of separation and its aftermath in Quebec and France.
Drawing on empirical research conducted on their respective court and welfare systems, Emilie Biland analyzes how men and women in Quebec and France encounter the law and its representatives in ways that affect their personal and professional lives. While gender inequality is less pronounced in Quebec than in France, and class inequality is starker, in both national contexts inequalities after breakups are driven by the same three mechanisms: access to the law and justice, interactions with legal professionals, and the ways these two factors shape lifestyle and standard of living. Decades after the liberalization of divorce, this book unearths the legal precedents and machinations that continue to result in these striking inequalities.
Ultimately, Family Law in Action explores how judicial policies produce co-constructed relations of class, gender, age, and race in the wake of separation and divorce. A rigorous but compassionate study, this book encourages governments to make good on the emancipatory promise enshrined in divorce law.
This impressive study will appeal to a wide audience of scholars, students, and practitioners of family law, political science, and political economy; social and socio-legal scholars; sociologists of law; and family welfare and child development specialists.