Fathers in Sweden have been given the right to a share of child benefit regardless of the wishes of the mother who had previously been given the allowance by default.
Since its introduction in the 1940s child benefit has routinely been paid out to the mother. But from March 1st all new parents will be default receive a share of the money regardless of whether they live together or not. The only requirement is that they have shared legal custody.
For parents with children born before March 1st the current regulations will remain in place which allow for the division of child benefit between the parents but require the consent of the mother.
"Now, no parent, and we are talking primarily about mothers because they receive the child benefit, can stop a division of the allowance." said Tommy Alexandersson at the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) to the Dagens Nyheter daily.
Child benefit in Sweden is worth some 1,050 kronor ($164) per child per month with additional supplements for parents with more than one child. Child benefit is paid out to parents with children living at home until the age of 16 with extended child benefit awarded up to the age of 18 for those in full-time education.