On the Duties of Shared Parenting

Ethics and Social Welfare 6 (2):168-181 (2012)
How should we understand the duties between those who share in parenting a child? Those who engage in shared parenting have duties to each other derived from the child's interests, but they also have additional duties to each other as sharers in parenting. The intentional account of duties between parents appears unable to explain the stringency of duties of shared parenting, as it seems to permit a parent to relinquish unilaterally their duties of shared parenting. Drawing on the work of Bratman, Alonso, and Scanlon, I develop a shared intention account of duties of shared parenting. Duties of shared parenting are constituted by the distinctive combination of the value of reliance in shared intentions, the importance of assurance in agreements, the significance of autonomy is deciding one's goals, and the entitlement to choose with whom one shares the intimacy of parenting. On this view, duties of shared parenting are shown to be stringent, but not duties of strict performance. Thus, I argue that the intentional account of parental duties is able to explain the stringency of duties of shared parenting
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