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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Family Law in Action

Divorce and Inequality in Quebec and France

An analysis of the class and gender inequalities of separation and divorce in France and Quebec.

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 both places 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. Family Law in Action is a rigorous but compassionate study that encourages governments to make good on the emancipatory promise enshrined in divorce law.

320 pages | 8 tables | 6 x 9

Law and Society

Gender and Sexuality

Law and Legal Studies: Law and Society

Sociology: Sociology--Marriage and Family


"Emilie Biland has done an exceptional job. This is a superb piece of comparative work."

Robert Leckey, editor of After Legal Equality: Family, Sex, Kinship

"Family Law in Action is of immediate and unique importance for policy development. I have been looking forward to this book!"

Mavis Maclean, founding director, Oxford Centre for Family Law and Policy

"In Family Law in Action, Emilie Biland handles an impressive amount of data in a masterful way. It’s an important and original contribution to socio-legal scholarship in the field of family law." 

Michelle Cottier, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva

Table of Contents

1 Why the Liberalization of Divorce Leads to Unequal Access to Justice
2 How Gender and National Context Shape the Legal Profession
3 The Legal Encounter as a Situated Nexus of Power
4 How Family Justice Frames Unequal Parenthoods
5 Family Law and the Welfare State: Intertwining Economic Inequalities
Notes; References; Index

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