Shared care and child maintenance policies in nordic countries

Mia Hakovirta, Guðny Björk Eydal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Nordic welfare model is referred to as the dual earner/dual carer model, where the explicit policy goal is to promote the equal sharing of the responsibility of care for children and paid work among men and women. However, how does the dual earner/ dual carer model apply to parents who do not live together but who share care, ie, both parents spending substantial time caring for and living with their child? In this article, we compare child maintenance policies in the five Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden - as a means of interrogating how dual earner/ carer ideals and realities play out for parents who share care but do not live together. The article makes a unique contribution to the knowledge of how the ideology and practice of shared care is implemented across Nordic countries. Based on vignette data collected in 2017, we show that despite an emphasis on the dual earner/dual carer model, in most cases, Finland and Iceland still refer to a male breadwinner model in their maintenance policies and do not recognise shared care arrangements as matters needing particular policy consideration. Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, on the other hand, recognise shared care in their laws and substantially reduce child maintenance payments in cases of shared care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-59
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Law, Policy and the Family
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We want to thank all national informants who provided information and calculations for this study. This work was supported by the Academy of Finland [grant number 294648, 2016].

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


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