Journal Article

Problems and Challenges in Researching Bi-National Migrant Families Within the European Union

Sonia Morano-Foadi

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 21, issue 1, pages 1-20
Published in print April 2007 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online March 2007 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI:
Problems and Challenges in Researching Bi-National Migrant Families Within the European Union

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  • Family Law
  • Marriage and the Family


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This article, based on a small empirical study, addresses some of the problems and challenges in carrying out research with bi-national families on the move within the European Union (EU). In general, there is paucity of research on bi-national families and particularly in relation to the impact of divorce and separation on migrant families. After introducing the research project and the ‘context’ in which it is based, the article addresses the main legal and sociological issues affecting bi-national migrant families split across frontiers. The analysis then turns to describe problems encountered by a group of EU migrant couples with children who experienced some form of family breakdown. A small set of scenarios is constructed in an attempt to offer a classification of issues affecting these bi-national families. A first level of investigation deals with family breakdown disputes which are essentially internal with no, or a limited, cross-national dimension, ie the foreign element does not play a relevant role in the settlement of such controversies. A second level includes a number of disputes which demands a cross-national angle of analysis, ie the foreign element needs to be taken into consideration in dealing with family disputes across frontiers. Real experiences drawn from the empirical work enrich the analysis and offer some insight into the complex area of family migration.

Journal Article.  8646 words. 

Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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