Joint Custody in the Italian Courts
This paper studies the impact of the introduction of joint custody in Italy (Law 54/2006) on judiciary outcomes. As to the formal (legal) assignment of joint custody, the reform envisaged very little judge discretion. With reference to the substance of the custody (the amount of time each parent spends with the child and the money involved in post-dissolution arrangements), the law established new principles while leaving plenty of implementation power to the judges. Our results – based on court data that covers the universe of separations from 2000 to 2010 – document that the law was only cosmetically applied by the judges. Compared to the pre-reform regime, the share of sole legal custody assignments to the mother drastically decreased. However, court implementation washed out the new principles: the provisions of the law related to the financial post-separation arrangements remained unapplied. This suggests that the main innovative aspect of the law – the possibility for a child to spend an adequate amount of time with both parents – was also left unchanged with respect to the previous regime of sole maternal custody. As joint effect of the introduction of the law and the little degree to which the new principles have been translated into actual verdicts, there was a surge in litigiousness among separating spouses and judicial inefficiency. Moreover, the incentives for a female partner to apply for a separation raised. The paper discusses a possible rationale for the findings and some related policy remedies. As for the former, the evidence we present can be explained by the adoption of gender-biased judiciary practices. As for the latter, our results suggest that a restatement of the law, to define a narrowed grid of prescriptions that constrain judge discretion, could be an effective corrective action.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Andrea Ichino & Michele Polo & Enrico Rettore, .
"Are Judges Biased by Labor Market Conditions?,"
192, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
- Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2008.
"Judicial Fact Discretion,"
The Journal of Legal Studies,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 1-35, 01.
- Martin Halla, 2013. "The Effect Of Joint Custody On Family Outcomes," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 278-315, 04.
- Christine Atteneder & Martin Halla, 2006.
"Bargaining at divorce: The allocation of custody,"
Economics working papers
2006-18, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, revised Jan 2007.
- René Böheim & Mario Francesconi & Martin Halla, 2012.
"Does custody law affect family behavior in and out of marriage?,"
Economics working papers
2012-12, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
- Rene Böheim & Marco Francesconi & Martin Halla, 2013. "Does Custody Law Affect Family Behavior In and Out of Marriage?," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp149, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
- BÃ¶heim, RenÃ© & Francesconi, Marco & Halla, Martin, 2012. "Does Custody Law Affect Family Behavior In and Out of Marriage?," Economics Discussion Papers 8972, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
- René Böheim & Mario Francesconi & Martin Halla, 2012. "Does custody law affect family behavior in and out of marriage?," NRN working papers 2012-15, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
- Böheim, René & Francesconi, Marco & Halla, Martin, 2012. "Does Custody Law Affect Family Behavior In and Out of Marriage?," IZA Discussion Papers 7064, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Allen, Brandeanna & Nunley, John & Seals, Alan, 2008.
"The Effect of Joint-Child-Custody Legislation on the Child-Support Receipt of Single Mothers,"
16316, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2009.
- Brandeanna Allen & John Nunley & Alan Seals, 2011. "The Effect of Joint-Child-Custody Legislation on the Child-Support Receipt of Single Mothers," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 124-139, March.
- Nunley, John M. & Seals Jr., Richard Alan, 2011. "Child-custody reform, marital investment in children, and the labor supply of married mothers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 14-24, January.
- Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1985. "Children as Collective Goods and Divorce Settlements," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 268-92, July.
- Magda Bianco & Silvia Giacomelli & Cristina Giorgiantonio & Giuliana Palumbo & Bruna Szego, 2007. "La durata (eccessiva) dei procedimenti civili in Italia: offerta, domanda o rito?," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 97(5), pages 3-54, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7472. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.