Reforming Custody Laws: A Comparative Study

Faculty Author Type

Emeritus Faculty [Susan B. Boyd]

Published In

International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Document Type


Publication Date



Child custody-Canada; Child custody-Australia; Domestic relations-Comparative law


This article looks at the outcomes of recent custody law reform inquiries in Canada and Australia, and examines the ways in which the reform processes in each country dealt with the claims of the various stakeholders and the emerging empirical research on post-separation parenting. Although the outcomes of the two processes were significantly different - one espousing a belief that 'no one size fits all families', the other promoting different approaches for differently situated families with a preference for shared parenting - it is argued that both reflect the moderating influence of the empirical evidence on the claims made by disaffected consumers of the family law system, a characteristic that distinguishes them from Australia's 1995 custody reform process.