Forældreansvarsloven: - Hund eller kat?

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Annette Juul Jensen
  • Olga Nielsen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
Abstract Recently, the Act on Parental Responsibility (Forældreansvarsloven) became effective and replaced the Act on Custody and Visitation Rights (Lov om forældremyndighed og samvær). This event has inspired this thesis. Among others we feel that this act contains significant changes. It is precisely these changes we find relevant for the thesis, and it is into these we will look closer. The bill preceding the act was passed with an astonishing degree of agreement between the political parties. The Social Democratic spokesman said that you could talk of a shift in paradigm in relation to questions of custody. According to Thomas Kuhn, who coined this term, a shift in paradigm belongs in the scientific field and is normally associated with events of revolutionary character and which indicates a new context, new perceptions, norms, etc. not compatible with the views of the old paradigm. For that reason, we as social workers feel that a change in paradigm might have significant consequences when working with families with children in divorce. Therefore, in the thesis we address the question of whether the great difference in the acts might be regarded as a change in paradigm or not. This is done with starting point in Kuhn’s theory of paradigm. In addition, we analyse the historic development in the area of family law, old laws of custody, and collected empiric material in the form of interviews carried out at one of the Danish state service departments. Our analysis shows that we can look at this new act as a change in paradigm and this we regard as positive. Since we regard the act as being positive we have chosen to reserve the remaining part of the thesis to an analysis with a critical angle in order to be as wide as possible in our view on nuances of our thesis statement. We found Jürgen Habermas’ theory of the life world and system interesting in this connection. Habermas is concerned with the staggered balance between these two important aspects of society. In this part we also problematize the conditions of the social work with regards to Habermas’ theory. Questions on whether this new act can be regarded as the system’s colonisation of the life world, the importance of the change in paradigm for children in families undergoing divorce, and the consequences this change will have on the children in these families are also addressed. We question if the act can be regarded as the system’s manipulation in order to gain control with its members, and if the act by any chance leaves children in a more difficult situation than before the act became effective. Therefore, we find that the act contains a significant amount of directions which can be regarded as being in accordance with Habermas’ theory of colonisation. But at the same time we also find that this act can be regarded as a step in the right direction since it promotes the parents’ co-operation rather than relying on decisions made by the authorities.
Publication date2008
Number of pages115
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 13855614