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Alain Roy

The socio-economic changes that have taken place in most Western societies in recent decades have profoundly transformed the foundations and structures of the family. Freed from the firm grip of religion, the family has become privatized. In contact with today’s dominant egalitarian values, it has become more democratic (Giddens, 1992). The homogenous, highly hierarchical family that once prevailed has been replaced by numerous configurations whose social legitimacy is no longer in doubt. From the married or de facto married couple to the couple with or without children, to reconstituted, single-parent or homoparental families, conjugal and family ties now intersect with a multitude of models that legislators have tried to reflect. Since the end of the 1970s, family law reforms have followed one another at a staggering pace, both in Quebec and in Europe. Several legal institutions, including those that seemed immutable, have undergone fundamental reorganization.