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Philosophical Foundations of Children's and Family Law$
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Elizabeth Brake and Lucinda Ferguson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786429

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786429.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 August 2019

Heteronormativity in Dissolution Proceedings

Heteronormativity in Dissolution Proceedings

Exploring the Impact of Recourse to Legal Advice in Same-Sex Relationship Breakdown

Chapter:
(p.134) 6 Heteronormativity in Dissolution Proceedings
Source:
Philosophical Foundations of Children's and Family Law
Author(s):

Charlotte Bendall

Rosie Harding

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198786429.003.0007

This chapter explores how heteronormativity, normative ordering of society to correspond with heterosexuality, shapes experiences of dissolution of formally recognized same-sex relationships. We present qualitative data from in-depth interviews with both clients and solicitors with direct experience of civil partnership dissolution. Drawing on insights from legal-consciousness studies, we explore the extent to which legal intervention in relationship breakdown creates an arena of strategy and self-interest. Overall, these data demonstrate the ways in which ‘law’ is conceived of as a product of its actors, rather than as being an entity of ‘the state’. We show that heteronormative understandings of gender roles in relationships have been carried over from (different-sex) marriage into civil-partnership proceedings. We argue that lesbians and gay men retain a level of resistance to this legal heteronormativity that has the potential to have transformative effects on contemporary understandings of the place of gender in marriage.

Keywords:   heteronormativity, civil partnership dissolution, same-sex marriage, same-sex divorce, legal consciousness, gender roles, LGBT

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