Article

Legislating for Shared Time Parenting after Separation: A Research Review

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Abstract

This article reviews research on post-separation shared time parenting and on outcomes of legislating to encourage shared time parenting, drawing mainly on Australian experience. The research shows that children benefit from continuing and regular contact with both parents when they cooperate, communicate, and have low levels of conflict. However, there is no empirical evidence showing a clear linear relationship between the amount of parenting time and better outcomes for children. Rather, positive outcomes have more to do with the characteristics of families who choose shared time and who can parent cooperatively and in a child-responsive way. In contrast, research post-2006 legislative change in Australia encouraging shared parenting suggests use of shared time by a less homogenous group, including a marked increase in shared time orders in judge-decided cases. This is of concern as emerging Australian research also suggests that shared care is more risky for children than other arrangements where there are safety concerns, high ongoing parental conflict, and for children younger than 4 years. Australian research also reveals widespread misunderstanding of the law, leading many fathers to believe that they have a right to shared time and many mothers to believe that they cannot raise issues relevant to children's best interests, especially family violence. Overall, the research points to the complexity in legislating to encourage shared time parenting and shows that subtle changes can have important effects.

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... Das Wechselmodell (shared physical custody) nach einer Trennung ist in vielen Ländern zu einem wichtigen Forschungsthema geworden, um sich wandelnde Geschlechterrollen in Trennungsfamilien zu beleuchten, jene Faktoren zu erkunden, die die Wahl des Wechselmodells begünstigen, und vor allem um das Wohlergehen der Kinder in den Blick zu nehmen, damit Entscheidungen der Familiengerichte empirisch fundiert getroffen werden können (Fehlberg, Smyth, Maclean, & Roberts, 2011). So beschäftigen sich einerseits einige Studien mit der Frage, welche Familien unter welchen Bedingungen das Wechselmodell wählen bzw. ...
... Andererseits konzentriert sich eine große Zahl von Untersuchungen auf das Wohlergehen und die Lebensbedingungen von Kindern, die im Wechselmodell betreut werden (Bauserman, 2002;Bergström et al., 2015;Fransson, Låftman, Östberg, Hjern, & Bergström, 2018;Nielsen, 2018b;Steinbach, 2018;Turunen, Fransson, & Bergström, 2017;Zartler & Grillenberger, 2017). Beide Forschungsrichtungen sind gleichermaßen wichtig, zumal Fragen zum Wohlergehen der Kinder im Wechselmodell nicht angemessen beantwortet werden können, ohne die selektive Nutzung dieses Betreuungsmodells zu beachten (Fehlberg et al., 2011). ...
... Nach Umfragedaten aus dem Jahr 2011 wurden in Schweden rund 42 % aller Kinder zwischen 4 und 18 Jahren, die nicht in einer Kernfamilie lebten, gleichermaßen von beiden getrennten Eltern betreut (Hakovirta & Rantalaiho, 2011). Auch in Australien (Fehlberg et al., 2011) und Belgien (Sodermans, Matthijs et al., 2013) Selbst wenn Eltern und Kinder das Wechselmodell als ihre beste Option bewerten, ist die Logistik wahrscheinlich anspruchsvoll. Die verfügbaren Befunde deuten darauf hin, dass die Wahl des Wohn-und Betreuungsmodells mit den sozioökonomischen Ressourcen, der vorherigen Rollenverteilung der Eltern, aktuellen Bedingungen auf Familienebene, kindbezogenen Faktoren sowie Bedingungen auf kontextueller Ebene zusammenhängt. ...
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Das sogenannte Wechselmodell, bei dem die Kinder nach einer elterlichen Tren-nung zu annährend gleichen Teilen bei beiden Elternteilen leben, wird aktuell in vielen Ländern diskutiert. Allerdings gibt es bislang in Deutschland nur wenige empirische Befunde zur Verbreitung des Wechselmodells. Die vorliegende Studie untersucht anhand der zweiten Welle des repräsentativen Surveys "Aufwachsen in Deutschland: Alltagswelten" (2013-2015), wie häufig das (symmetrische bis asym-metrische) Wechselmodell praktiziert wird und welche Prädiktoren dessen Wahl beeinflussen. Die Stichprobe umfasst 1.042 minderjährige Kinder mit getrennten Eltern. Gemessen an den Übernachtungen der Kinder bei jedem Elternteil (im Ver-hältnis 50:50 bis 70:30) leben lediglich 5 % dieser Kinder im Wechselmodell (An-gaben der Mütter). Das Wechselmodell wird häufiger bei geringer Wohnentfernung der Eltern und höherem Bildungsniveau der Mutter gewählt. Nicht nur ein koope-ratives Coparenting der Eltern, sondern auch Coparenting-Probleme scheinen das Wechselmodell zu begünstigen. Dies legt nahe, dass das Wechselmodell teilweise in Konfliktfällen als Kompromisslösung gewählt wird. Die vorliegenden Befunde verdeutlichen die Notwendigkeit nachfolgender (prospektiver) Längsschnittstudien. Schlüsselwörter: Trennung, Scheidung, Wechselmodell, Coparenting Multilocal, dual residence or shared parenting arrangements after parental separation are increasingly discussed in many countries. So far, however, there is only little information about shared physical custody in Germany. The present research uses the second wave of the German survey "Growing up in Germany" (2013-2015) to investigate the prevalence and likely conditions for practicing shared physical custody after separation. The sample comprises 1,042 minor children with separated parents (reported by mothers). Measured by children's overnight stays with each parent, only 5 % of these children lived in a (symmetrical or asymmetrical) dual residence arrangement (50:50 up to 70:30 of overnight stays with either parent). According to findings from logistic regression, shared physical custody was more likely if maternal and paternal residences were in close proximity, and if the mother had higher levels of education. Furthermore, shared physical custody was more likely if the parents had a positive cooperative co-parenting relationship, but interestingly, also when co-parenting problems were high. This suggests that shared physical custody may be used as compromise in cases of interparental conflict. Our findings point to the importance of future prospective longitudinal studies.
... Also, as we have seen throughout this book, shared physical custody has become more common in separated families. Certainly, a growing number of separated parents jointly share the care of their child(ren) either equally, or at least 30% of care by each parent (Fehlberg et al. 2011;Trinder 2010;Smyth 2017;Hakovirta and Eydal 2020). Multiple terms are used for this phenomenon, including shared care, shared residence or joint physical custody. 1 For the purposes of standardisation we use shared physical custody (SPC) throughout this chapter. ...
... Very often comparative work on shared physical custody arrangements is bedevilled by different terms, definitions, time thresholds, measures, and units of analysis which means that cross-national comparisons and research translation present formidable challenges. In general, it refers to a sharing of care time of children between parents, but the care-time can range from 25% to 50% spent with each parent (see Fehlberg et al. 2011;Smyth 2017;Trinder 2010). Also the source of information on prevalence matterswhether the information comes from official statistics, administrative records or surveys. ...
... Shared residence is used in Norway(Haugen 2010), and alternating residence in Sweden(Singer 2008) and shared care in the UK(Haux et al. 2017) and shared care in Australia(Smyth 2017). In the U.S., shared care is described as 'shared physical custody', 'dual residence', 'alternating residence' and 'shared placement'(Fehlberg et al. 2011). ...
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This book chapter provides new insights to the question of how child maintenance policies have responded to changing post separation family arrangements and most specifically shared physical custody (SPC). We analyse how SPC is implemented and how it operates in child maintenance policies in 13 countries: Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the U.S. The comparative analysis is based on vignette questionnaire collected in 2017. There are differences in how countries have acknowledged and recognized shared physical custody in their child maintenance policies. It varies from complete annulment of obligations, to some countries making finer grained adjustments to reduce child maintenance obligations and yet others’ making no changes as a result of shared physical custody, with the paying parent still having to provide the full amount of child maintenance. It seems there is no standard practice and nor do the different arrangements map easily onto child maintenance scheme typology. The latter is surprising, as it might have been expected that similarly structured child maintenance schemes would treat shared physical custody in similar ways. This variability demonstrates a lack of coherence across child maintenance policies on how to deal with this phenomenon of greater gender equality in post-separation parenting arrangements.
... To what extent are these results due to families choosing shared custody? Logically, shared custody is often preferred in families more likely to be characterized by higher income (Bauserman 2002;Fehlberg et al. 2011;Cancian et al. 2014), lower levels of conflict between parents or between parents and children; families in which the divorce process was easier; and families with both parents involved in the child care (Juby et al. 2005) and motivated to cooperate even if there is a break up (Smyth 2004;Gunnoe and Braver 2001). These selective mechanisms serve as important justifications for advocates of sole custody arrangements to dismiss the findings of better outcomes for children commuting between two homes. ...
... Despite convincingly positive empirical results, the argument about shared custody continues in many western countries; debates are reopened, and the legislation itself, as well as the legal practice, is still being developed (Fehlberg et al. 2011;Kruk 2018). The general public debate and the scholarly production seem often to split into two different worlds with only a minor overlap. ...
... Although most studies (Poortman and van Gaalen 2017;Bauserman 2002;Fehlberg et al. 2011;Cancian et al. 2014) argue that shared custody preference goes hand in hand with higher social and economic status; this association does not seem to occur in relation to attitude. Neither educational level nor family income plays a role in the attitude toward shared custody. ...
Chapter
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In the beginning of the existence of divorce as a social institution, parenthood was not as deeply problematized as the moral aspects of the partnership. In contrast, current public and scientific debates are most frequently involved in the questions of the impact of divorce on the children. Shared custody can be understood as a result of this cultural shift. The knowledge about public attitudes toward this topic and its social differentiation is limited. This study presents a unique source of data on shared custody attitudes from EVS (European Values Study) and CHPS (Czech Household Panel Survey) surveys conducted recently in the Czech Republic. The results show there is a substantive distinction between the attitudes of men and women and that the acceptance of shared custody is higher in younger age groups. No differences according to the social and economic status of respondents and their family backgrounds were found. Concerning the broader attitudinal contingency, we found no relationship between egalitarian gender attitudes and the acceptance of shared custody, but conservative attitudes toward divorce consequences increase the acceptance of shared custody.
... In fact, parenting arrangements in separated families, as well as statutory rules in family law, are changing. In many countries, an increasing share of separated parents tends to choose a parenting arrangement with (almost) equal time and responsibility for children, and some countries even favor this solution in the legal system (Fehlberg et al. 2011). ...
... Shared physical custody among separated parents has become a major issue not only in family law but also in social science research in many countries (Fehlberg et al. 2011). Given the intensive debate about pros and cons of shared care, the large number of investigations focuses on outcomes of shared compared to sole physical custody, particularly children's well-being (Bauserman 2002;Bergström et al. 2015;Nielsen 2018a;Steinbach 2018). ...
... In comparison, the number of studies which address issues of selective access to and use of shared physical custody is more limited (e.g., Poortman and van Gaalen 2017;Sodermans et al. 2013). However, both lines of research are similarly important and in fact interdependent, even more so since questions about the role of physical custody for children's well-being cannot be properly addressed without paying attention to the selective use of these different parenting arrangements (Fehlberg et al. 2011). ...
Chapter
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Multilocal, dual residence or shared parenting arrangements after parental separation are increasingly discussed in many countries because they seem best suited to allow for more equally shared parental roles and children’s equal access to both (biological) parents. So far, there is little information about shared physical custody in Germany. The present research uses the second wave from a large German survey “Growing up in Germany” (2013–2015) to investigate the prevalence, preconditions, as well as possible outcomes of shared physical custody after separation. The sample comprises 1042 children (below age 18) with separated parents (maternal report). Measured by children’s overnight stays with each parent, less than 5% of these children lived in a dual residence arrangement (50:50 up to 60:40% of time with either parent). Shared physical custody was more likely if maternal and paternal residence were in close proximity, and if the mother had higher levels of education. As expected, shared physical custody was more likely if the parents had a positive cooperative (co-parenting) relationship while co-parenting problems did not seem to have independent effects. The findings are discussed with respect to other research addressing issues of self-selection into different parenting arrangements and the still limited role of shared physical custody in Germany in facilitating more equal gender roles.
... Yet the burden of high costs for practicing SPC (e.g., commutes between parental homes, maintaining the child's rooms in each home, or duplicate sets of cloth and school supplies), and the constant communication with the other parent required for successful coparenting, may outweigh or curb potential health and well-being benefits from reduced parenting duties. This could especially be the case for parents with sparse resources to fall back on or for conflictual couples, who became more likely to also opt for SPC in countries strengthening legislation for SPC (Fehlberg, Smyth, Maclean, & Roberts, 2011;Sodermans et al., 2013). ...
... We also expected SPC-related benefits for health and well-being to be more pronounced among highly educated parents after 2017 because, due to its diffusion across the social strata (Fehlberg et al., 2011;Sodermans et al., 2013), high costs and demands related to the implementation of SPC may tend to erode any potential benefits for less resourceful parents . ...
Article
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This study examines the prevalence and socio-demographic profiles of post-separation parents practicing shared physical custody (SPC) in Switzerland, and its associations with parental health and well-being. We analyzed data from two samples of post-separation parents: one surveyed before and one shortly after family law changes facilitating parents’ access to SPC. In both samples, SPC parents represented only a small fraction and SPC was associated with parents’ higher education or less financial strain. SPC-health and -well-being linkages also varied by education. We conclude that prevailing gender-biased employment practices may counteract the broadened access to SPC by reinforcing more traditional sole custody models among less resourceful parents.
... UK, Australia, Canada), and/or legislated to encourage it (i.e. Belgium, Netherlands, Australia, Wisconsin) (Fehlberg, Smyth, Maclean, & Roberts, 2011;Haux, McKay, & Cain, 2017;Poortman & van Gaalen, 2017;Smyth & Chisholm, 2017). In Belgium, for example, there is a "default judicial recommendation" (Sodermans, Matthijs, & Swicegood, 2013) of equally divided residence, implicating that this arrangement must be given initial consideration by the judge if either parent makes a request for it (Vanassche, Sodermans, Declerck, & Matthijs, 2017). ...
... Recently, there have been several studies and reviews associating dual residence arrangements with children's well-being (Bergström et al., 2013;Carlsund, Eriksson, Löfstedt, & Sellström, 2013;Nielsen, 2014Nielsen, , 2015Spruijt & Duindam, 2010). Others question whether dual residence arrangements work in all circumstances, namely for children under the age of four and where there is a high level of conflict or domestic violence, and call for more research (Fehlberg, Smyth, Maclean, & Roberts, 2011;McIntosh, Smyth, & Kelaher, 2015). Conflicting opinions among both researchers and practitioners on the potential benefits and/or costs for children have led to a somewhat polarized debate focusing on whether dual residence arrangements should be advocated or not (see for example Harris-Short, 2010;Kruk, 2011;Nielsen, 2015). ...
Article
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Dual residence, where children live with each parent for approximately equal amounts of time, is increasingly common for children who have experienced parental separation or divorce. This article explores the perspectives of Swedish children growing up in dual residence arrangements, focusing on their influence over the residence arrangements and practices therein. Alternating one's home life across two households requires organizing and a great deal of decision-making to make everyday life work for children and their families. Drawing on twenty qualitative in-depth interviews with children aged 9 to 17, this paper explores these decision-making practices. Findings demonstrate that children want to have the choice to influence and take part in the decision-making practices of their dual-residence arrangements, and that most children do influence the way their dual-residence arrangements are shaped albeit to different degrees. However, some children are prevented from having this influence despite their wish to have a say. Barriers and enablers are further discussed in relation to children's influence within their families.
... Estimates from the general population of post-separation parents in Australia and the United Kingdom suggest that shared care arrangements hover between 10 and 20 percent (Peacey & Hunt, 2008;Smyth, 2009). However, shared care arrangements have been shown to be markedly higher among the litigating population (Fehlberg, Smyth, Maclean, & Roberts, 2011;Trinder, 2010Trinder, , 2014 in both of these jurisdictions. Thus where parenting arrangements are arrived at through judicial intervention there is a higher rate of shared care than when parents reach their own agreements on the division of time. ...
... First, it suggests that shared care remains the preference for a relatively small group of parents who live apart. Second, it indicates that shared care is more common among conflictual parents, a group of parents for among whom a history of violence is commonplace, 1 even though conflict and violence are situations known to be of little benefit to children (Fehlberg et al., 2011). ...
Article
In 1999 Smart and Neale published their seminal book Family Fragments, arguing for the replacement of the ethics of justice that currently informs custody law and practice with an ethics of care. Recognising loss is one of four principles they identify as being key to care‐based processes for managing post‐separation parenting arrangements. Here they had in mind the non‐resident fathers in their study, who were often anxious, angry, and resentful about their diminished fatherhood. Yet gender‐neutral custody laws and the greater prominence given to shared care across the West means that increasing numbers of separated mothers are also experiencing diminished connections to their children, either by becoming non‐resident parents or through shared care arrangements. Research into post‐separation fathers’ and mothers’ experiences of loss and grief in relation to their children is sparse and largely consists of small‐scale qualitative studies focusing either on fathers or mothers. Nonetheless, these studies show that the grief talk of post‐separated parents is strikingly similar, except that mothers who become non‐resident parents commonly talk about a sense of stigma and shame, while fathers are more likely than mothers to resort to the language of anger and rights. Despite Smart and Neale's call roughly 20 years ago, custody law systems across the West continue to neglect parents’ need for recognition and support. This paper seeks to rectify this social neglect through describing a dual program of therapeutically informed interventions with separated mothers and fathers. This is designed to recognise and respond to parental loss and grief experiences, whilst simultaneously fostering personal self‐reflexivity and transformation. The latter is no easy task but is frequently an essential basis for workable co‐parenting post‐separation.
... In the case of separation, equal parenting translates into a preference for shared custody, based on the assumption that parents are willing and able to collaborate with each other, and that it is in the child's best interest to have contact with both parents (Blomqvist and Heimer, 2016;Harris-Short, 2010;Kurki-Suonio, 2000). However, as shown by several scholars, the policymakers' assumptions regarding parental collaboration after separation overshadow the reality of conflict, intimate partner violence (IPV) and gender inequality (Bunting, 2007;Eriksson, 2011;Fehlberg et al., 2011;Harris-Short, 2010). Broader aspects regarding shifts in families' access to welfare rights (cf. ...
... Scholars have claimed that some welfare schemes even facilitate economic abuse because their design enables perpetrators to sustain their financial advantage and undermine their ex-partners' (often women's) financial autonomy (Natalier, 2018;Cook, 2021). This type of abuse may go unnoticed because, in the context of equalparenting family policies, victims may hesitate to disclose abuse out of fear of litigation and imposition of shared custody (Fehlberg et al., 2011). In a similar vein, Miller and Smolter (2011) coined the term 'paper abuse' to describe how perpetrators can obstruct or prolong legal and administrative processes, e.g., by filing frivolous lawsuits, making false reports of child abuse, and taking other legal actions 'as a means of exerting power, forcing contact, and financially burdening their ex-partners. ...
Article
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Family policies promoting gender equality and parents’ shared responsibility for their children tend to assume good parental collaboration post separation. However, this assumption obscures the reality of conflict and intimate partner violence (IPV) in some separated families. Focusing on Sweden, this article examines the 2016 reform which implies that the state ceases acting as an intermediary to organise child maintenance unless ‘special reasons’, including the experience of IPV, are invoked. Thus, the Swedish guaranteed child maintenance scheme became conditional. Drawing on interviews with resident parents and case officers at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (SSIA), this article suggests that the reform increases the vulnerability of resident parents in several ways. Moreover, the ‘special reasons’ exemption creates a new distinction between ‘violent’ and ‘normal’ families, which case workers struggle to administer, and which leads to a withdrawal of state support for many families.
... In comparison, the number of studies that addressed issues of selectivity into post-separation physical custody arrangements are more limited (Poortman and van Gaalen 2017;Sodermans et al. 2013;Recksiedler and Bernardi 2021). Nonetheless, both lines of research are similarly important and even mutually dependent, especially because questions concerning the role of custody in children's well-being cannot be adequately answered without considering the selective use of SPC (Fehlberg et al. 2011). Thus, this study takes a look at both aspects: factors associated with the parents' choice of and selection into different physical custody arrangements, as well as the linkages of such arrangements and child adjustment among a sample of German post-separation families. ...
... Another well-known factor associated with SPC is parental SES and particularly parents' educational attainment (Fehlberg et al. 2011;Juby et al. 2005;Poortman and van Gaalen 2017). In our data, we also found a significant link between maternal education and post-separation custody arrangements, although only for sole care arrangements where children had no contact with the nonresident father. ...
Article
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Most children continue to live with their mother after a divorce or separation, yet paternal involvement in post-separation families has increased substantially in many Western nations. This shift has contributed to a growing share and more diverse set of post-separation parents opting for shared physical custody (SPC), which typically means that children alternate between the parental residences for substantive amounts of time. Profiling the case of Germany, where no legal regulations facilitating SPC are implemented to date, we examine the prevalence of SPC families, sociodemographic correlates of SPC, and its associations with parental coparenting and child adjustment. Using representative survey data sampled in 2019 (N = 800 minors of 509 separated parents), results revealed that only 6–8% of children practiced SPC. SPC parents were more likely to hold tertiary levels of schooling and to report a better coparenting relationship with the other parent. There was no link between SPC and child adjustment, yet conflictual coparenting was linked to higher levels of hyperactivity among SPC children. We conclude that the social selection into SPC and linkages between conflictual coparenting and hyperactivity among SPC children likely stem from the higher costs and the constant level of communication between the ex-partners that SPC requires.
... Their high social and financial capital might compensate for the negative effect of shared custody. The concerns are mainly based on the lack of stability in the child's life caused by travelling between parental homes (Fehlberg et al., 2011). Additionally, the negative impact of shared custody might be strengthened by a high conflict between the parents (Vanassche et al., 2013) and parents' inability to cooperate (Felner et al., 1985). ...
Article
Motivated by the lack of official statistics and the lack of systematic estimates in Europe, this article aims to map the dissolutions of cohabitating unions across European countries and compare the stability of cohabiting unions, especially those with children, to marriage. The article studies more recent cohabiting unions and marriages (formed after 1990) drawn from retrospective information on partnership and fertility histories from the Generations and Gender Survey for 14 European countries. Discrete-time models were employed for the analysis. The results confirm that, in all countries, cohabiting unions are always less stable unions than marriages, whether or not children are present. Contrary to theoretical expectations, the difference in the stability of childless unions and those with a child present is found to be more distinct for cohabiting than marital unions. Cohabiting unions with a child present are more stable than childless cohabiting unions in ten out of 14 countries, and in four of these countries, the difference is even larger than for marriage. It is also more pronounced in western European countries than in most of the central and eastern European countries.
... Second, all the children resided primarily with their mothers at program entry. Attention to whether programs for divorced fathers affect children's feelings about divorce is particularly important given the increase in fathers' postdivorce involvement in children's lives over the past couple of decades (Fehlberg, Smyth, Maclean, & Roberts, 2011). Third, the children ranged in age from 9 to 12 when the study began. ...
Article
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This study examined whether the New Beginnings Program (NBP), a parenting-focused preventive intervention designed to reduce children’s postdivorce mental health problems, affected attitudes toward divorce and marriage in young adults whose mothers had participated 15 years earlier. Participants (M = 25.6 years; 50% female; 88% White) were from 240 families that had participated in a randomized experimental trial (NBP vs. literature control). Analyses of covariance showed that program effects on both types of attitudes were moderated by gender. Males in the NBP reported more positive attitudes toward marriage and less favorable attitudes toward divorce than males in the literature control.
... The researchers believed that divorce has a troublesome influence on children future, undoubtedly. Fehlberg, Smyth, Maclean, and Roberts (2011), studied toward caring for children after parental separation. In their investigation, the researchers reported serious difficulties with legislating for shared care especially in litigated cases, but likewise in privately agreed cases. ...
Article
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Considering the parenting concept can be useful to obtain enough information in the family area. The family determines as the building block of society, and marriage assumed as its foundation. Divorce likewise has pervasive weakening influence on children and on all the major institutions of the social order such as family, school, and government. Though, this substance is growing weaker as fewer adults marry, more adults divorce, and choose single parenthood. Really, one of the most significant and intimate associations among individuals is between parent and child. The parent-child bond is unique both in its biological basics and in its psychological meanings. Intended for a child, it's a crucial relationship that safeguards
... Fasst man die Ergebnisse der vorliegenden Untersuchungen zusammen, so gibt es einige Bedingungen, die offensichtlich förderlich sind, damit das Wechselmodell funktioniert und positive Auswirkungen hat (Gilmore 2010, S. 26): (1) geographische Nähe, (2) die Fähigkeit der Eltern (ohne allzu große Konflikte) zu kooperierenmindestens eine ‚business-like' Beziehung zu erhalten, (3) ein gewisses Ausmaß an elterlicher (Pflege-)Kompetenz, (4) familienfreundliche Arbeitszeiten, (5) ein gewisses Ausmaß an finanzieller Unabhängigkeit, (5) Flexibilität und (6) ein hohes Ausmaß an Anpassungsfähigkeit in Bezug auf die Bedürfnisse der Kinder einschließlich der Bereitschaft, das Arrangement zu ändern (auch zum Residenzmodell mit einem der beiden Elternteile), um den Bedürfnissen der Kinder entgegenzukommen, wenn sie älter werden (Fehlberg et al. 2011;Gilmore 2010). Vor diesem Hintergrund erscheint die vorsichtige Akzeptanz des Wechselmodells in der Rechtsprechung des deutschen Bundesgerichtshofs als angemessene Reaktion auf die derzeit in den Sozialwissenschaften bestehende Befundlage. ...
... The meaning of shared parenting among study participants varied along gender lines and preferred post-separation arrangement. Shared parenting has been shown to be more likely to work when parents can cooperate, yet it is not an arrangement that works for or is best for everyone (Fehlberg, Smyth, Maclean, & Roberts, 2011). Although norms of good post-divorce parenting now involve the expectation that parents will resolve their disputes out of court and work together in the interests of their children, parents had different understandings of what this meant. ...
Article
Most research, policy discussion and intervention is based on outsider-expert understandings that categorise divorces as well as parents enmeshed in ‘high-conflict’ disputes in polarised and individualised terms. Little, however, is known about parents’ experiences of these disputes, or how they fare in the longer term. This article draws on in-depth semi-structured interviews with 25 mothers and fathers in British Columbia, Canada, who experienced a high-conflict divorce and later came to see the experience as having been transformative despite the many difficulties they faced. Overall, the research found that positive change occurs over time when parents are supported with resources that address their particular needs and challenges. Parents change, make meaning and respond to their circumstances across the life course, thereby exercising agency. This process also occurs in a social, political and legal context that changes over time and across generations.
... Proc., Vol. x, xxxx, 2018 STEINBACH / 11 proximity, (2) the ability of parents to cooperate without (high) conflict, and at a minimum, to maintain a business-like relationship, (3) a certain degree of paternal competence, (4) family-friendly working hours, (5) a certain degree of financial independence, (6) flexibility, and (7) a high degree of responsiveness to the needs of the children, including willingness to alter the arrangements to meet the children's changing needs when they get older (e.g., Cashmore et al., 2010;Fehlberg et al., 2011b;Gilmore, 2006;Skjørten & Barlindhaug, 2007). ...
Article
Joint physical custody (JPC), a parental care arrangement in which a child lives with each parent for at least 25-50% of the time after separation or divorce, is increasingly common in many Western societies. This is a major shift from the standard of sole physical custody, with mostly mothers providing primary childcare after a parental separation or divorce. The increasing share of separated or divorced parents who practice JPC, which in some countries, US states, and regions reaches 30% and more, results from increasing gender equality due to mothers participating considerably in the labor force and fathers being actively involved in their children's daily lives. This review focuses on the effects of JPC on children's and parents' well-being, based on 40 studies from North America, Australia, and Europe published between 2007 and 2018. In sum, there is empirical evidence from different countries that suggests that JPC arrangements can have positive effects on the well-being of children and of parents. However, the existing studies are conceptually, methodologically, and contextually very heterogeneous. In addition, self-selected highly educated parents with a high socio-economic status, a low conflict level, and children between the ages of 6-15 practicing JPC dominate the samples. Thus, the risks and benefits of JPC are not clear yet and are heavily debated by advocates and academics. The review concludes with suggestions for future research. © 2018 Family Process Institute.
... Their high social and financial capital might compensate for the negative effect of shared custody. The concerns are mainly based on the lack of stability in the child's life caused by travelling between parental homes (Fehlberg et al., 2011). Additionally, the negative impact of shared custody might be strengthened by a high conflict between the parents (Vanassche et al., 2013) and parents' inability to cooperate (Felner et al., 1985). ...
Article
The rapid increase of the number of children being born in cohabitation appears to have an important impact on their lives, since they face a higher risk of parental breakup than children born in wedlock. This article aims to provide a cross-national overview of the living arrangements of children following breakup of cohabiting unions and to investigate whether the post-dissolution living arrangements differ between formerly cohabiting and married families. Analyzing the first wave of Generations and Gender Survey for 9 European countries shows that former cohabiters are not more or less likely to establish shared physical custody of their children than formerly married couples; however, formerly cohabiting fathers are somehow less likely to have sole custody of their children. The lower odds of sole-father custody among former cohabiters are caused by the selection of individuals into cohabiting unions (i.e., different demographic characteristics of cohabiting parents and union duration).
... That is, we do not yet know whether the experience of separation and having sole responsibility for children affects the confidence of separated parents in their ability to parent; nor whether, if this is indeed the case, there is a subsequent reversion to earlier levels of perceived confidence or self-evaluated confidence over time. This gap in our knowledge is surprising given the prominence of the long-established, negative discourses around lone parent families (Klett-Davies 2016; Silva 1996) and the more recent focus on "good" parenting before and after separation (Fabricius et al. 2010;Fehlberg et al. 2011;Lamb 2012;Mahrer et al. 2016;Steinbach 2019). We argue that societal norms and discourses, and the specific stigmatisation (Link and Phelan 2001) of lone parenthood (Salter 2018), are likely to influence parents' selfconceptions or expressed confidence in their parenting. ...
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In the context of high rates of parental separation and divorce, there has been extensive scholarly interest in exploring the consequences of separation for both children and parents. However, little is currently known about whether separation impacts mothers’ sense of their own efficacy as parents. In this chapter, we investigate whether mothers’ confidence in their parenting drops following separation, and if so, whether it recovers over time. Arguing that reduced confidence in their competence as parents may stem from the challenges of sole parenting, we explore whether greater involvement of fathers in parenting after separation lessens the impact of the breakup on mothers’ confidence. Using the Millennium Cohort Study, a large, nationally representative study of children born in the UK in 2000–2001, we analyse the experiences of around 12,000 mothers who were living with their child’s father when the baby was around nine months old. By tracking these mothers until their child is around seven years old, we show that those who separate experience a reduction in their parenting confidence relative to those who did not separate, and that this gap persists. Counter to our expectations, we find that greater paternal involvement post-separation does not mitigate these effects. We discuss these findings in the context of theories of self-efficacy and the stigmatisation of lone mothers in society.
... Sie untersuchen, wie Eltern und Kinder interagieren und ihre Beziehungen aushandeln (Berman 2015), identifizieren unterschiedliche Typen und Dynamiken von ‚co-parenting' (Markham und Coleman 2012), zeigen die Herausforderungen auf, mit denen Elterninsbesondere Väterkonfrontiert sind, wenn sie das Wechselmodell etablieren wollen (Masardo 2009) und wie die sozialen Netzwerke der Kinder durch das Wechselmodell beeinflusst werden (Prazen et al. 2011;Zartler und Grillenberger 2017). Studien, die untersuchen, wie die Kinder selbst ihre Situation einschätzen (Berman 2015;Campo et al. 2012;Haugen 2010;Neoh und Mellor 2010;Sadowski und McIntosh 2016) Fasst man die Ergebnisse der vorliegenden Untersuchungen zusammen, so gibt es einige Bedingungen, die offensichtlich förderlich sind, damit das Wechselmodell funktioniert und positive Auswirkungen hat (Gilmore 2010, S. 26): (1) geographische Nähe, (2) die Fähigkeit der Eltern (ohne allzu große Konflikte) zu kooperierenmindestens eine ‚business-like' Beziehung zu erhalten, (3) ein gewisses Ausmaß an elterlicher (Pflege-)Kompetenz, (4) familienfreundliche Arbeitszeiten, (5) ein gewisses Ausmaß an finanzieller Unabhängigkeit, (5) Flexibilität und (6) ein hohes Ausmaß an Anpassungsfähigkeit in Bezug auf die Bedürfnisse der Kinder einschließlich der Bereitschaft, das Arrangement zu ändern (auch zum Residenzmodell mit einem der beiden Elternteile), um den Bedürfnissen der Kinder entgegenzukommen, wenn sie älter werden (Fehlberg et al. 2011;Gilmore 2010). Vor diesem Hintergrund erscheint die vorsichtige Akzeptanz des Wechselmodells in der Rechtsprechung des deutschen Bundesgerichtshofs als angemessene Reaktion auf die derzeit in den Sozialwissenschaften bestehende Befundlage. ...
... Over recent decades, two important trends have steadily undermined the dominance of this 'classic' post-divorce family model. First, increasing legal and social support for childcare by both mother and father has resulted in separated parents more equally sharing the residential care of children (Fehlberg et al., 2011). Second, subsequent unions, separations and childbearing with multiple partners are contributing to the growing complexity of family ties, making households with multiple (step-)parental relationships and stepand half-siblings increasingly common (Cancian and Meyer, 2011). ...
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The increasing prevalence of shared care and complex families is challenging traditional approaches to child support determination based on the ‘classic’ two-parent, sole custody, post-divorce family. This article provides a comparative analysis of how these challenges are being addressed in the child support schemes of eight different countries and evaluates these approaches in the light of family policies on gender equality in family care. We find great diversity in the incorporation of shared care and complex families, which is not clearly connected to existing ideal typical policy models on gendered family care. However, child support schemes, at least partially, seem to translate into assumptions concerning gender roles and general policy aims concerning gender equality. In order to better understand how countries accommodate the challenges arising from the modern post-separation family, gender equality seems a vital consideration to take into account.
... This article was provided to legal professionals as part of an Australia-wide professional education program about the family law changes conducted by the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia. The AIFS' evaluation of the family law reforms noting the potential risks of shared-time arrangements for certain families contexts also gained attention (see, e.g., Fehlberg, Smyth, Roberts, & Maclean, 2011;Lamb, 2012). ...
Article
In 2006, sweeping changes to the family law system were introduced in Australia. A central plank running through the changes was the need for courts and divorce professionals to consider whether a child spending ‘equal’ or else ‘substantial and significant’ periods of time with each parent would be in the child's best interests and be reasonably practicable. More recently, family violence amendments have led to greater weight being given to protecting children from harm. Yet neither set of legislative amendments appears to have led to marked changes in the incidence of shared-time arrangements. We explore possible reasons for this surprising outcome.
... We also know that historically for separated families, mothers have been the main resident parent and fathers have had a minor caring role which has been actualized by contact arrangements rather than resident arrangements. More recently however, evidence shows a growing number of separated parents do jointly care for their child(ren) either equally, or at least for 30% of the time (Fehlberg, Smyth, Maclean, & Roberts, 2011;Hakovirta & Skinner, 2021;Smyth, 2017;Trinder, 2010). The practice of "joint physical custody" where a child spends equal time living with both parents and both parents have responsibility to physically care has also become a more popular arrangement in some countries. ...
... Our measures of conflict did not prove to have any effect on children's preferences in the analysis relating to children attending the first mandatory mediation session following parental separation or divorce. This was somewhat unexpected because few children in precourt mediation preferred an ETSA, and because researchers have argued that children are less satisfied with shared care arrangements when parents are in conflict (see Fehlberg, Smyth, Maclean, and Roberts, 2011;Lidén and Kitterød, 2019). One explanation might be that the broad definition of "shared care" was divided into sub-categories where ETSA is compared with mostly mother (different "shared care" arrangements compared with each other). ...
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Mediation is mandatory for all separating and divorcing parents in Norway with children under 16 years. The participation of children is voluntary. Living arrangement preferences presented by children attending child-inclusive family mediation in Norway (n = 346, aged 4–18 years) have been examined. 47.1 per cent of children gave a living arrangement preference, and older children were more likely to express a preference for living primarily with the mother compared to an equal time-sharing arrangement. Children very often gave reasoned explanations for their wishes. Children’s utilisation of the potential in their participation supports future inclusion of children in mediation processes. The best interests of the child needs to be examined on an individual basis as children present various preferences that is not in line with a presumption of fixed time-sharing following parental break-up.
... Fasst man die Ergebnisse der vorliegenden Untersuchungen zusammen, so gibt es einige Bedingungen, die offensichtlich förderlich sind, damit das Wechselmodell funktioniert und positive Auswirkungen hat (Gilmore 2010, S. 26): (1) geographische Nähe, (2) die Fähigkeit der Eltern (ohne allzu große Konflikte) zu kooperierenmindestens eine ‚business-like' Beziehung zu erhalten, (3) ein gewisses Ausmaß an elterlicher (Pflege-)Kompetenz, (4) familienfreundliche Arbeitszeiten, (5) ein gewisses Ausmaß an finanzieller Unabhängigkeit, (5) Flexibilität und (6) ein hohes Ausmaß an Anpassungsfähigkeit in Bezug auf die Bedürfnisse der Kinder einschließlich der Bereitschaft, das Arrangement zu ändern (auch zum Residenzmodell mit einem der beiden Elternteile), um den Bedürfnissen der Kinder entgegenzukommen, wenn sie älter werden (Fehlberg et al. 2011;Gilmore 2010). Vor diesem Hintergrund erscheint die vorsichtige Akzeptanz des Wechselmodells in der Rechtsprechung des deutschen Bundesgerichtshofs als angemessene Reaktion auf die derzeit in den Sozialwissenschaften bestehende Befundlage. ...
... Equal shared physical custody is often portrayed as the care arrangement with the best outcomes for all parties. While the benefits of this residency arrangement can be (partially) attributed to it being chosen by less conflicted and better cooperating parents (Fehlberg et al. 2011;Trinder 2010), continued contact with both parents after separationcontrolled for the quality of the parental relationshiphas been found to have a positive effect on children's academic, psychological, emotional, and social well-being (Bauserman 2002;Nielsen 2013b;Westphal 2015). Children who alternate their residence also generally report a better relationship with their father and an equally good relationship with their mother as children who predominantly live with their mother (Sodermans et al. 2013b). ...
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Until the end of the twentieth century, child custody arrangements after separation typically continued the gendered pre-separation parenting division, with mothers taking up childcare and fathers paying child support. Recently, there has been a significant rise in co-parenting after separation, reflecting the trend towards more socio-economic, work- and childcare-related gender equality during the relationship. However, it remains unclear to what extent the organization of the pre-separation household dominates over important changes in the lives and labor force participation of parents after separation in choosing to co-parent. This study uses longitudinal Belgian register data to consider the effect of post-separation dynamics in parents’ life course and labor force participation in deciding to co-parent. While certain pre-separation characteristics remain predictive of co-parenting, our results suggest a societal trend towards co-parenting as the parenting norm. Increased time in paid work positively affects co-parenting probabilities, but we find no effect of a post-separation income increase, even though this would imply greater bargaining power to obtain sole custody. As such, the investigated post-separation changes seem to be an indication of parents moving towards supporting and attempting to gain gender equal parenting after separation.
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Policymakers and researchers are concerned with whether joint physical custody (JPC) produces better outcomes for children than sole custody. Although several review articles summarizing up to 61 empirical articles demonstrate very positive answers, many of the research designs used compromise the ability to claim that it is JPC per se—and not selection effects—that causes the effect. We discuss several research design issues, such as propensity score analysis, that can more powerfully probe the question of causality. Some studies have already been conducted employing these strategies and more are recommended and likely to soon be forthcoming. On the basis of this comprehensive review we conclude that JPC probably does cause benefits to children on average, and that social scientists can now provisionally recommend rebuttably presumptive JPC to policymakers.
Article
Is joint physical custody (JPC) linked to any better or worse outcomes for children than sole physical custody (SPC)? How are these outcomes affected by family income, parental conflict, and the quality of parent–child relationships? Compared to SPC children in 60 studies, JPC children had better outcomes on all measures in 34 studies, equal outcomes on some and better outcomes on other measures in 14 studies, equal outcomes on all measures in 6 studies, and worse outcomes on 1 measure, but equal or better on all other measures in 6 studies. In 25 studies, independent of family income, JPC children had better outcomes on all measures in 18 studies, equal on some and better on other measures in 4 studies, equal outcomes in 1 study, and worse outcomes on 1 but equal or better on other measures in 2 studies. In 19 studies, independent of parental conflict, JPC children had better outcomes on all measures in 9 studies, equal to better in 5 studies, equal in 2 studies, and worse outcomes on 1 but better outcomes on the other measures in 3 studies. In the 9 studies, independent of the quality of parent–child relationships, JPC children had better outcomes on all measures in 5 studies, equal or better outcomes on other measures in 2 studies, and worse outcomes on 1 of the measures in 2 studies. Independent of income, conflict, or the quality of children’s relationships with their parents, JPC generally children had better outcomes on most or on all measures.
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Tutkimus kuvaa vanhempien ja viranomaisten käsityksiä vuoroasumisesta sopimisesta ja sen periaatteista. Aineistoina ovat vuoroasumista toteuttavien vanhempien haastattelut (14 kpl) sekä sosiaalitoimen käräjäoikeuden pyynnöstä laatimat lasten huoltoa ja tapaamisoikeutta koskevat olosuhdeselvitykset. Metodologisena viitekehyksenä on fenomenografia. Tutkimuksen mukaan vanhempien ja viranomaisten käsitykset vuoroasumisesta ja siitä sopimisesta voidaan jakaa kolmeen kuvauskategoriaan, jotka ovat (1) perheideaalin säilyminen, (2) lapsen asuminen sekä (3) arjen järjestelyt. Perheideaalin tasolla vanhempien ja viranomaisten käsityksissä korostuivat vanhempien sovinnollisuus ja tasavertaisuus, jotka rinnastettiin ehjään ydinperheeseen. Lapsen asumista koskevat käsitykset erosivat etenkin siinä, minkä ikäisille lapsille vuoroasumisen katsotaan sopivan sekä mikä on kotien välimatkan merkitys vuoroasumisessa. Kolmannella tasolla huomionarvoisia olivat vanhempien käsitysten väliset erot yksityisen ja julkisen sopimisen tavoista.
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Section 1(2A) of the Children Act 1989 establishes a statutory presumption that ‘involvement’ of both parents in their children's lives after divorce or separation is in children's best interests. This paper sets out to examine what effect this had had. The aim of the legislation was to improve the transparency and clarity of judges’ reasoning. This would help to reduce the numbers of parents litigating and would placate fathers’ rights groups who were damaging confidence in the family justice system. Drawing on a sample of reported cases, this paper concludes that, at the higher levels, courts are not implementing the presumption. Nor has the presumption succeeded in placating fathers’ rights groups or significantly reducing the number of cases coming to court. It appears that the presumption has had little impact and the government's aims have not been realised. However, where it is having some impact, the presumption may be putting mothers and children at risk.
Article
This paper enriches understandings of the implications of contemporary custody law for mothers and their children. It does so through a discussion of mothers’ grief and emotional pain over involuntarily losing care time with children. Mothers involuntarily lose care time by becoming non-resident parents against their will or by having a shared care parenting order imposed on them. Both experiences of losing maternal care time are becoming more commonplace as a result of the gender neutrality of custody laws across the Anglo-West and the increased emphasis given to shared care parenting as a viable post-separation parenting arrangement. Yet investigations into the emotions engendered by mothers’ loss of care time are sparse. Exploratory qualitative research with twelve mothers who involuntarily lost care time reveals the intensity and durability of their grief, its entanglement with emotions like fear, and its significance, as a relational welfare approach emphasises, to children’s best interests.
Article
Is joint physical custody (JPC) linked to any better or worse outcomes for children than sole physical custody (SPC) after considering family income and parental conflict? In the 60 studies published in English in academic journals or in government reports, 34 studies found that JPC children had better outcomes on all of the measures of behavioral, emotional, physical, and academic well-being and relationships with parents and grandparents. In 14 studies, JPC children had equal outcomes on some measures and better outcomes on others compared to SPC children. In 6 studies JPC and SPC children were equal on all measures. In 6 studies, JPC children were worse on one of the measures than SPC children, but equal or better on all other measures. In the 25 studies that considered family income, JPC children had better outcomes on all measures in 18 studies, equal to better outcomes in 4 studies, equal outcomes in 1 study, and worse outcomes on one measure but equal or better outcomes on other measures in 2 studies. In the 19 studies that included parental conflict, JPC children had better outcomes on all measures in 9 studies, equal to better outcomes in 5 studies, equal outcomes in 2 studies, and worse outcomes on one measure but equal or better outcomes on other measures in 3 studies. In sum, independent of family income or parental conflict, JPC is generally linked to better outcomes for children.
Article
(descriptivo): el presente artículo pone de manifiesto la necesidad de articular la custodia unilateral, como indistinta, en lugar de exclusiva. Así, ambas formas de custodia tendrían una aplicación diferente, como formas de asignación unilaterales de derechos de filiación. La custodia indistinta sería la regla general, en cambio la exclusiva sería una forma de asignación más bien excepcional y específica de protección del niño.
Article
Socio-legal research has established the importance of a ‘good’ post-separation parental relationship; however there is little work addressing the definitions and experiences of parents themselves. Thus, we have few insights into how socio-legal expectations align with those of separated parents. This paper draws on interview data from 27 separated Australian parents to explore the question: how do parents define a good post-separation parental relationship? Our analysis indicated a typology of three relationships: allied, arm’s length and autonomous relationships. These were differentiated by parents’ emotional connection, practical interdependence and deliberate co-operation in caring for their children. They shared in common parents’ focus on the wellbeing of children, which both motivated parents’ on-going connection and informed their definition of a good post-separation relationship with their former partner. Our findings indicate an alignment between socio-legal expectations of good relationships and those of parents, albeit in sometimes unexpected forms.
Article
Relationship separation affects many Australians with around 20,000 divorces involving children formalised per year. For profit, government and nongovernment organisations all offer services for separated couples and families. Despite promotion of specialist services such as mediation and child-centred services, which seek to assist families to navigate what is a complex interaction between public and legislative structures, there is little known about the potentially broader array of supports and information people use following separation. Better understanding of help-seeking behaviours for separating couples enables more effective targeted policy and service delivery. Individuals with children accessing a nongovernment-funded program for support during separation (n = 134) were asked to complete a survey that was designed to track their help-seeking behaviour. We found that help-seeking for legal services was more common than seeking help for self-care, but that both were important for many people in the sample. Friendship networks, and medical and health professionals were the most common sources of information and support. We argue that social work has a role in promoting and supporting parents who are separating to access a broader range of informal support networks and professional services.
Article
(descriptive): This article highlights the need to consider the concept of unilateral custody as a type of custody that is indiscriminate rather than exclusive. Thus, both forms of custody would have different application, as unilateral forms of the assignment of rights for parents. Indiscriminate custody would be the general rule, while exclusive custody would be for exceptional cases involving specific forms of child protection. Key words: unilateral custody, exclusive custody, joint custody (Taken from: https://espana.leyderecho.org/custodia/).
Article
Shared-time parenting in separation and divorce. From responsibility to residence. In several Western countries, laws have been enacted on shared-time parenting, that is the equal or near equal sharing of children’s time between the parents after their separation or divorce. The debate about shared-time parenting, also, is lively at both a national and an international level. Several reasons are attached to the request for shared parenting: to gain equality between parents, to allow fathers to have more contact with their children, and to guarantee the rights of children to maintain a relationship with both parents. However, shared-time parenting is a highly conflicted topic, both at a political and at an ideological level. The paper investigates the processes, interests and demands at the core of the equal time shift in child custody in the light of the current legal regulation of the family and of the configuration of gender relationships in society. Moreover, it considers the goals that law can achieve in this area of social action.
Article
The aim of this article is to consider how ideas about raising children by parents who have parted have changed in Poland and how they were reflected in changing provisions of family law in order to offer at least an initial answer to the question of whether joint parenting should be a welcomed development in Polish family law. The article will focus not only on indicating when and how the relevant family law provisions have been amended but also on presenting the academic and practical dilemmas faced in the process of introducing a new concept of joint physical custody over a child when parents have parted. It is argued that an honest revision of the challenges and opportunities joint parenting offers, based not only on national experiences but also on research and experiences of foreign jurisdictions, promotes a better understanding of this solution, which in the Polish context is still an emerging concept requiring ongoing research and active academic consideration.
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Research in recent years in Europe and internationally has highlighted the growing need to review paternal role and the growing importance of fathers' continued involvement in the upbringing of their children through new parental care arrangements, such as the joint custody, so that the well-being of both the fathers themselves and their children is ensured. The purpose of this research is to investigate the joint custody and paternal role in divorce in Greece. During the research process, which started in January 2015 and is still ongoing to date, data were collected from 2,638 people, through a semi-structured questionnaire. According to the results of the research, it is a common request of both women and men to maintain the father's quality participation in the lives of children after divorce.
Article
Ongoing parental conflict after divorce is particularly difficult on school aged children. Consistent research has demonstrated that high conflict divorce can induce adjustment problems and increase risk of child psychopathology. For these children, school represents a safe space to thrive and develop the cognitive, social and emotional skills that can serve as a buffer and reduce the risk of adjustment difficulties and mental health problems. Trained in child development, teachers have the knowledge base and play a critical role in identifying behavioral warning signs of children ‘at risk’. The aim of this study is to explore the experiences of teachers working with children exposed to high parental conflict before, during and after divorce/separation. Using semi-structured interviews, five primary school teachers shared their every-day experiences of teaching and caring for primary school aged students struggling to cope with the emotional distress related to high levels of parent stress and parent conflict associated with family breakdown and the process of high conflict divorce. The data was analyzed using an Interpretative Phenomenology Analysis framework by Jonathan Smith. The findings revealed that ‘caring’ for and about these children was a key feature of being sensitively responsive to these children. However, as highlighted by these teachers, this work is emotionally exhausting and professionally challenging, placing teachers at risk of burnout. The findings contribute to the knowledgebase of how-to best support teachers who teach vulnerable school populations. Implications for teacher training and support at different levels within the school system are discussed.
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In the last decade and a half, there have been significant changes in Spanish legislation on marital breakdowns. One of the reforms with the greatest impact has been the possibility of shared custody. However, although regulations have not ceased, there have been no studies, such as this one, that relate to the legislation on joint custody in Spain. The data source used is the Survey of Annulments, Separations and Divorces by the Spanish National Institute of Statistics. The study concluded that the presence of a specific law promotes shared parenting, although it increases in Autonomous Communities where its presence was previously greater. However, other variables are involved, as confirmed by cases in the Balearic Islands and the Community of Valencia.
Article
Joint physical custody (JPC), a parental care arrangement in which children live with each parent about equally after separation or divorce, is an increasingly common phenomenon in many countries. This is a major shift away from the standard of sole physical custody (SPC), in which children live primarily with one parent (usually their mother) after family dissolution. Although attention to JPC by social scientists is growing, and the effects of this arrangement on children's well-being are the subject of highly ideological debates, there is currently little empirical evidence with statistical power on JPC. Using data from Family Models in Germany (FAMOD), a survey of postseparation families conducted in 2019, we estimated four linear regression models for children aged 2-14 in SPC and JPC families, with analytic samples of up to 1,161 cases. We investigated the association between physical custody arrangements after separation or divorce and four dimensions of children's well-being: psychological, physical, social, and cognitive/educational. The bivariate results provided support for the hypothesis that children living in JPC families fare significantly better than children living in SPC families on all four dimensions of well-being. However, after controlling for a set of child, parent, and separation characteristics, as well as for the quality of family relationships, the differences between children from SPC and JPC families disappeared. Additional analyses revealed that the parent-child relationships fully mediated this association. In sum, the quality of family relationships accounted for the positive association between JPC and children's well-being in this study. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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This study investigated the association between joint physical custody (JPC), parental loyalty conflict (PLC) behaviours and children's mental health in a sample of 284 children aged 11 to 14 from the FAMOD survey. The results of the linear regression models indicated that children in JPC families had better mental health than children in sole physical custody families, and that PLC behaviours negatively affected children's mental health. Furthermore, children's experiences of PLC behaviours moderated the association between JPC and their mental health, with high levels of PLC behaviours leading to a noticeable decline in the mental health of children in JPC families.
Article
A higher share of parents practices shared physical custody (SPC) upon separation and SPC parents tend to be better educated, more affluent, and less conflict-ridden. This could indicate that SPC parents may be buffered from disparities in well-being that were documented among other post-separation parents. Using latent profile analysis, we identified four distinct profiles of maternal well-being across different life domains. SPC mothers were indeed more likely to belong to a low-strain profile and less likely to belong to a high-strain profile compared to single mothers. We conclude that social disparities both among and between post-separation parents remain highly salient, despite trends toward growing diversity in family constellations, and discuss German welfare state characteristics that may foster these differences.
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Objectives: Children's views and experiences of shared care arrangements post separation were explored to provide their voices to the ongoing discussions of shared parenting. Methods: Qualitative synthesis included a systematic and transparent method for retrieval, screening, and analysing qualitative studies. The inclusion criteria accepted studies that were: qualitative in design; included children as participants in shared care parenting time post-separation. Results: Ten qualitative studies in six different countries with 466 children and young adults were included in the final analysis. Children's experiences of shared care parent-ing post separation were mixed and varied depending on contextual factors related to their relationship with both parents, as well the quality of these relationships and the flexibility/rigidity of the parenting arrangement.
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Introduction Over the past three decades, the election of joint custody as an option in divorce settlements has far outdistanced our empirical knowledge about its judiciousness. Initially, the relationship between joint custody and research began with impassioned intensity, suggesting that they were well-positioned as both psychologically and politically suitable partners. Divorce research in the 1970s and early 1980s indicated that children fared better when they had ongoing, quality relationships with both parents. A growing men's movement called attention to fathers' determination to maintain relationships with their children after divorce. The women's movement made it equally clear that men would be welcomed as more involved partners in childrearing and home responsibilities. Consistent research evidence about the negative impact of marital and post-divorce conflict on child adjustment further hearkened joint custody as a viable alternative to the more traditional "custody with visitation." Finally, concerns about the ways in which the legal system could exacerbate hostility and conflict between ex-spouses suggested that joint custody might offer divorcing parents a respectful alternative to the adversarial process. Despite these auspicious beginnings, rigorous research into the potentials and pitfalls of joint custody did not keep pace with political support for shared parenting. Recent studies support the efficacy of joint custody for child adaptation in particular, and families more generally. Yet while our knowledge base is slowly developing, a number of questions remain that could shed more light on which particular dimensions of joint custody benefit which kinds of families, and under what conditions. This knowledge, while lacking at present, could offer legal decision makers a more substantial empirical basis from which to make the voluminous decisions about complex situations that families are posing to the courts across the country and abroad. This chapter examines what is known about the legal status, living arrangements, outcomes, and legal contexts of joint custody and reflects upon what is not known. The first two sections lay the foundation for subsequent analysis of empirical knowledge by (a) providing a brief overview of the historical circumstances that gave rise to joint custody as a legal option, and (b) clarifying definitions of legal and physical forms of custody. The latter section also highlights the diversity of custody arrangements families choose, elucidating the discrepancy between how custody is defined and how it is lived. Section three presents the salient dimensions examined in the joint custody literature. Sections four and five review legal contexts that influence the potential impact of joint custody on children and families, concluding with a summary and directions for future research.
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Children living in a shared-time parenting arrangement following separation (also known as joint physical custody or dual residence) spend equal or near-equal amounts of day and night time with each parent. Little data exist regarding developmental sequelae of such arrangements for infants. The current study examined a theoretically driven question: Are there associations between quantum of overnight stays away from a primary resident parent and the infant’s settledness, or emotion regulation with that parent? Nationally representative parent report data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) were used Three age bands were studied and three level of overnight care contrasted. When parenting style, parental conflict and socio-economic factors were controlled for, greater number of shared overnight stays for the 0–1 year old and the 2–3 year old groups predicted some less settled and poorly regulated behaviours, but none for the 4–5 year old group. Limits of these data are discussed, including application to the individual case. Findings suggest emotional regulation within the primary infant-parent relationship is one useful index of infant adjustment to parenting time arrangements.
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Shared post-separation parenting has gained a new profile in Australia in recent years, particularly since 2006. Yet empirical research conducted prior to 2006 suggested that shared care was uncommon and there were particular characteristics of families that adopted this form of parenting arrangement. This article draws on in-depth interviews with separated parents to explore shared care arrangements post-2006. Shared carers who reported positive experiences described mutually agreed parenting arrangements and generally reported favourable outcomes for their children. They also demonstrated similar characteristics to those in workable shared care arrangements pre-2006, in particular, a cooperative and child-focused approach to post-separation parenting, paternal competence and no or minimal involvement of the legal system. Conversely, shared carers reporting negative experiences generally said there had been disagreement over their arrangements, described poorer outcomes for their children and had little in common with their pre-2006 counterparts. There were also clear gender patterns in the way parents reported shared care. Most fathers in our sample reported satisfaction with shared care and appeared focused on the'fairness' of shared care to them and/or their children.In contrast, mothers were generally less satisfied with shared care and appeared more focused on specific concerns about children's well-being.
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This article reexamines the living arrangements of children following their parents' divorce, using Wisconsin Court Records, updating an analysis that showed relatively small but significant increases in shared custody in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These changes have accelerated markedly in the intervening years: between 1988 and 2008, the proportion of mothers granted sole physical custody fell substantially, the proportion of parents sharing custody increased dramatically, and father-sole custody remained relatively stable. We explore changes in the correlates of alternative custody outcomes, showing that some results from the earlier analysis still hold (for example, cases with higher total family income are more likely to have shared custody), but other differences have lessened (shared-custody cases have become less distinctive as they have become more common). Despite the considerable changes in marriage and divorce patterns over this period, we do not find strong evidence that the changes in custody are related to changes in the characteristics of families experiencing a divorce; rather, changes in custody may be the result of changes in social norms and the process by which custody is determined.
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An increasing number of divorced parents in Western countries have joint physical custody of their children. A comparative study of children in 36 European, Mediterranean, and North American countries found that 0-4% spend about half their time in two homes. Such arrangements were virtually unknown in many Southern and Eastern European countries while they were more common than single father households in Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden. Impaired communication with both mother and father was significantly less likely in joint physical custody than in other non-intact families. Impaired communication with mother was equally prevalent in intact families and joint physical custody families while impaired communication with father was in fact less prevalent in joint physical custody than intact families. Un nombre croissant de parents divorcés dans les pays occidentaux optent pour la garde alternée de leurs enfants. Une étude comparative sur des enfants originaires de 36 pays d'Europe de l'Ouest, de l'Est, du pourtour méditerranéen et des pays nord-américains a révélé qu'entre 0 et 4% d'entre eux passent la moitié de leur temps dans deux foyers. Ce type d'arrangement est pour ainsi dire inconnu dans les pays d'Europe du Sud et de l'Est alors que les foyers mono-parentaux tenus par un père célibataire sont plus courants en Belgique, Danemark, Islande et Suède. Une dégradation de la communication avec le père ou la mère de l'enfant est moins susceptible de survenir au sein d'une famille qui adopte le mode de la garde alternée. Les difficultés de communication avec la mère sont aussi fréquentes dans les familles aui ont opté pour le système de la garde alternée que dans les familles intactes; quant à celles avec le père, elles sont en réalité moins fréquentes dans le premier cas que dans le second. Un número aumentado de padres separados en los países del Oeste ejercen custodia compartida. Un estudio comparativo de niños en 36 países europeos, mediterráneos y de América del Norte muestra que de 0 a 4% pasa cerca de medio tiempo en dos hogares. Arreglos así fueron desconocidos en la mayoría de los países del sur y del Este de Europa, aunque fueron más común de que custodia paterna en Bélgica, Dinamarca, Islandia y Suecia. Comunicación deteriorada con la madre y el padre fue considerablemente menos probable en custodia compartida de que en familias no-intactas. Comunicación deteriorada con la madre fue igualmente preválida en familias intactas y familias en custodia compartida, aunque la comunicación deteriorada con el padre fue menos preválida bajo la custodia compartida de familias intactas.
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Shared residence after divorce is rising in most Western countries and legally recommended by law in Belgium since 2006. Living with both parents after divorce is assumed to increase children's well-being, through a better parent-child relationship, but may also be stressful, as children live in 2 different family settings. In this study, we investigate whether the association between the residential arrangement of adolescents and 3 measures of subjective well-being (depressive feelings, life satisfaction, and self-esteem) is moderated by the Big Five personality factors. The sample is selected from the national representative Divorce in Flanders study and contains information about 506 children from divorced parents between 14- and 21-years-old. Our findings indicated a consistent pattern of interactions between conscientiousness and joint physical custody for 2 of the 3 subjective well-being indicators. The specific demands of this residential arrangement (making frequent transitions, living at 2 places, adjustment to 2 different lifestyles, etc.) may interfere with the nature of conscientious adolescents: being organized, ordered, and planful. Our results showed support for a Person × Environment interaction, and demonstrate the need for considering the individual characteristics of the child when settling postdivorce residential arrangements. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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This article is a companion piece to the empirical and theoretical perspectives on infant overnight care arrangements offered in Part I. Grounded in an integrated psycho-developmental perspective, the paper provides a set of clinical assumptions and a related chart of practical considerations, to guide decision making about infant overnight care, both in the individual case and in broader policy contexts. At all levels of decision making, we endorse the need for developmentally sensitive resolutions that protect both the vulnerabilities of early childhood and support lifelong parent–child relationships, whenever possible.Key Points for the Family Court Community:Parenting orders or plans for children 0–3 years of age should foster both developmental security and the health of each parent–child relationship, now and into the future.From a position of theoretical and empirical consensus, we provide an integrated set of assumptions and considerations to guide decision making about overnight parenting plans.These considerations apply equally to planning in the individual case and to policy level decisions.
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This study examined profiles of nonresidential father engagement (i.e., support to the adolescent, contact frequency, remarriage, relocation, and interparental conflict) with their adolescent children (N = 156) 6 to 8 years following divorce and the prospective relation between these profiles and the psychosocial functioning of their offspring, 9 years later. Parental divorce occurred during late childhood to early adolescence; indicators of nonresidential father engagement were assessed during adolescence, and mental health problems and academic achievement of offspring were assessed 9 years later in young adulthood. Three profiles of father engagement were identified in our sample of mainly White, non-Hispanic divorced fathers: Moderate Involvement/Low Conflict, Low Involvement/Moderate Conflict, and High Involvement/High Conflict. Profiles differentially predicted offspring outcomes 9 years later when they were young adults, controlling for quality of the mother-adolescent relationship, mother's remarriage, mother's income, and gender, age, and offspring mental health problems in adolescence. Offspring of fathers characterized as Moderate Involvement/Low Conflict had the highest academic achievement and the lowest number of externalizing problems 9 years later compared to offspring whose fathers had profiles indicating either the highest or lowest levels of involvement but higher levels of conflict. Results indicate that greater paternal psychosocial support and more frequent father-adolescent contact do not outweigh the negative impact of interparental conflict on youth outcomes in the long term. Implications of findings for policy and intervention are discussed.
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This study examines the association between joint physical custody and adolescent wellbeing and whether this relationship is conditioned by the degree of parental confl ict, the quality of the parent–child relationship and the complexity of the family confi guration of mother and father. We use data from the LAGO-project, containing information on 1,570 children with divorced parents. Overall the wellbeing of children in joint physical custody is similar to that of children in other custody arrangements. However, under certain circumstances joint physical custody can become negatively related to child wellbeing. We fi nd support for the moderating effects of parental confl ict, quality of the relationship with mother and father, and the presence of a new partner in the parental households.
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BACKGROUND In many European countries, incidence rates of joint physical custody have steadily increased during the last decades, mainly caused by a more gender-neutral attitude towards parenting. In previous, now dated research, joint custody seemed to be related with better emotional outcomes for children and a closer parent-child relationship after divorce. However, a selection bias have operated as low-conflict parents with a higher socio-economic position were overrepresented in this type of residential arrangement. In Belgium, recent laws have made joint physical custody the preferred residential option after divorce. OBJECTIVE The main research question in this article is how the socio-demographic profile of mother, father and joint physical custody families in Flanders has evolved after two consecutive legislative changes in 1995 and 2006. METHODS We use the high quality ‘Divorce in Flanders’ database, collected from a large-scale representative multi-actor survey. Multinomial logistic regression models are run to model the likelihood to be in joint or father custody versus mother custody. RESULTS joint physical custody families have become more heterogeneous over time, as this custody type is no longer restricted to a distinct group of high educated parents. There are also indications that the recent law has pushed a growing group of high-conflict couples into joint physical custody arrangements.
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The current study examined the associations between child mental health problems and the quality of maternal and paternal parenting, and how these associations were moderated by three contextual factors: quality of parenting by the other parent, interparental conflict, and the number of overnights parents had with the child. Data for the current study came from a sample of divorcing families who are in high legal conflict over developing or maintaining a parenting plan following divorce. Analyses revealed that the associations between child mental health problems and positive maternal and paternal parenting were moderated by the quality of parenting provided by the other parent and by the number of overnights children spent with parents, but not by the level of interparental conflict. When parenting by the other parent and number of overnights were considered together in the same model, only number of overnights moderated the relations between parenting and child-behavior problems. The results support the proposition that the well-being of children in high-conflict divorcing families is better when they spend adequate time with at least one parent who provides high-quality parenting. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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The practice of joint physical custody, where children spend equal time in each parent's home after they separate, is increasing in many countries. It is particularly common in Sweden, where this custody arrangement applies to 30 per cent of children with separated parents. The aim of this study was to examine children's health-related quality of life after parental separation, by comparing children living with both parents in nuclear families to those living in joint physical custody and other forms of domestic arrangements. Data from a national Swedish classroom study of 164,580 children aged 12 and 15-years-old were analysed by two-level linear regression modelling. Z-scores were used to equalise scales for ten dimensions of wellbeing from the KIDSCREEN-52 and the KIDSCREEN-10 Index and analysed for children in joint physical custody in comparison with children living in nuclear families and mostly or only with one parent. Living in a nuclear family was positively associated with almost all aspects of wellbeing in comparison to children with separated parents. Children in joint physical custody experienced more positive outcomes, in terms of subjective wellbeing, family life and peer relations, than children living mostly or only with one parent. For the 12-year-olds, beta coefficients for moods and emotions ranged from -0.20 to -0.33 and peer relations from -0.11 to -0.20 for children in joint physical custody and living mostly or only with one parent. The corresponding estimates for the 15-year-olds varied from -0.08 to -0.28 and from -0.03 to -0.13 on these subscales. The 15-year-olds in joint physical custody were more likely than the 12-year-olds to report similar wellbeing levels on most outcomes to the children in nuclear families. Children who spent equal time living with both parents after a separation reported better wellbeing than children in predominantly single parent care. This was particularly true for the 15-year-olds, while the reported wellbeing of 12-years-olds was less satisfactory. There is a need for further studies that can account for the pre and post separation context of individual families and the wellbeing of younger age groups in joint physical custody.
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Decisions regarding custody and access are most often made without reference to the research on child development, although this literature can be useful in conceptualizing children's needs after separation and divorce. Research on attachment processes, separation from attachment figures, and the roles of mothers and fathers in promoting psychosocial adjustment are reviewed in this article. It concludes with a discussion of the implications for young children's parenting schedules.
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There are established research truths about parental conflict and its impact on children which are increasingly respected in practice: divorce does not have to be harmful; parental conflict is a more potent predictor of child adjustment than is divorce; conflict resolution is important to children's coping with divorce. This synopsis of recent research moves beyond these truths, to a review of emerging "news" from the literature, with a focus on known impacts of entrenched parental conflict on children's development and capacity to adjust to separation. The findings are illustrated by the case of two siblings, Jack and Rachel,, seen in short-term therapy by the author, in the period following their parents'highly conflictive separation. From a practitioner's chair, the news is more than noteworthy. It provides compelling arguments for a move beyond truisms about parental conflict and children's adjustment, beyond wishful myths of resilience, to look at the process of impact on development, within the context of parental dispute and family restructure.
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Most parents who live apart negotiate custody arrangements on their own or with the help of lawyers, mediators, or other professionals. However, psychologists and other mental health professionals increasingly have become involved in evaluating children and families in custody disputes, because of the large number of separated, divorced, and never-married parents and the substantial conflict that often accompanies the breakup of a family. Theoretically, the law guides and controls child custody evaluations, but the prevailing custody standard (the "best interests of the child" test) is a vague rule that directs judges to make decisions unique to individual cases according to what will be in children's future (and undefined) best interests. Furthermore, state statutes typically offer only vague guidelines as to how judges (and evaluators) are to assess parents and the merits of their cases, and how they should ultimately decide what custody arrangements will be in a child's best interests. In this vacuum, custody evaluators typically administer to parents and children an array of tests and assess them through less formal means including interviews and observation. Sadly, we find that (a) tests specifically developed to assess questions relevant to custody are completely inadequate on scientific grounds; (b) the claims of some anointed experts about their favorite constructs (e.g., "parent alienation syndrome ") are equally hollow when subjected to scientific scrutiny; (c) evaluators should question the use even of well-established psychological measures (e.g., measures of intelligence, personality, psychopathology, and academic achievement) because of their often limited relevance to the questions before the court; and (d) little empirical data exist regarding other important and controversial issues (e.g., whether evaluators should solicit children's wishes about custody; whether infants and toddlers are harmed or helped by overnight visits), suggesting a need, for further scientific investigation. We see the system for resolving custody disputes as deeply flawed, for reasons that go beyond the problem of limited science. The coupling of the vague "best interests of the child" test with the American adversary system of justice puts judges in the position of trying to perform an impossible task, and it exacerbates parental conflict and problems in parenting and coparenting, which psychological science clearly shows to be key factors predicting children's psychological difficulties in response to their parents' separation and divorce. Our analysis of the flawed system, together with our desire to sharply limit custody disputes and custody evaluations, leads us to propose three reforms. First, we urge continued efforts to encourage parents to reach custody agreements on their own-in divorce mediation, through collaborative law, in good faith attorney negotiations, in therapy, and in other forums. Some such efforts have been demonstrated to improve parent parent and parent-child relationships long after divorce, and they embrace the philosophical position that, in the absence of abuse or neglect, parents themselves should determine their children's best interests after separation, just as they do in marriage. Second, we urge state legislatures to move toward adopting more clear and determinative custody rules, a step that would greatly clarify the terms of the marriage contract, limit the need for custody evaluations, and sharply narrow the scope of the evaluation process. We find particular merit in the proposed "approximation rule" (recently embraced by the American Law Institute), in which postdivorce parenting arrangements would approximate parenting involvement in, marriage. Third anal finally, we recommend that custody evaluators follow the law and only offer opinions for which there is an adequate scientific basis. Related to this, we urge professional bodies to enact more specific standards of practice on this and related issues.
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This study explored the lived experience of security and contentment, and their absence, for latency-aged children (aged 8-12) living in shared-time parenting arrangements following their parents’ separation. A descriptive phenomenological methodology was utilized (Giorgi, 1985, 2009; Giorgi & Giorgi, 2003, 2008). Shared-time is an increasingly common post-separation living arrangement in which children spend equal, or near-equal time, with both parents. Sixteen children with current or recent experience of living in a shared-time arrangement were interviewed about their experiences of two phenomena: “feeling secure and content living in shared-time” and “not feeling secure and content living in shared-time.” The eight richest protocols were selected for analysis. The two resultant general structures and their core constituents are presented, and individual variations discussed. The emergent child-generated phenomenologies describe core aspects of this living arrangement that contribute to the child’s felt security and contentment, and core aspects that compromise it. Central to each phenomenon is the parent/s’ capacity, or incapacity, to create and sustain a physical and emotional space in which the child feels secure and held in the mind, feels the arrangements are responsive to their needs, feels free to access the “absent” parent, and experiences integration between the two parental homes. Implications for phenomenological human science research are considered, including the use of descriptive phenomenology with children.
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This engaging, humorous, yet hard-hitting speech was first given at the 2nd Family Law System Conference, in Canberra in July 2010. The author, Rick O'Brien, is Deputy Chair of the Family Law Section, Law Council of Australia. The speech, re-printed here in its original form, unpacks O'Brien's personal disappointment with the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006, from its convoluted layers, complexity, and associated delays created for decision-making processes, to the inherent compromise between competing philosophical persuasions that lie at its foundation. In turn, O'Brien describes his concern about both active and passive misunderstandings of the Amendments having led to unrealistic expectations or ill-informed compromises by many parents. He provides a perspective on what might help, from increased judicial numbers and wider resourcing of the family law system, to dramatic review of the existing legislation. Some will welcome these practice-based assertions as courageous calls from the legal frontline and a refreshing departure from the caution and at times conservatism of academic findings. Others will find O'Brien's views provocative for the very same reasons, and question his facts. Whatever your personal reaction, JFS re-prints this speech in the hope that, read in context, it will generate healthy and productive discussion, and at least a little laughter.
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This article examines continuity and change in post-separation patterns of parenting across a three-year time span. We analyse longitudinal data from two recent Australian studies: the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey; and the Caring for Children after Parental Separation (CFC) Project. Mother-residence was found to be the most common and the most stable pattern. Though far less common, father-residence also appeared to be reasonably stable. By contrast, shared care was found to be the most fluid of these three parenting configurations.
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Despite widespread interest in patterns of parenting after separation over the past decade - especially in shared-time arrangements - few studies have explored the detail of post-separation parenting time schedules. This article: (a) provides a detailed snapshot of children’s overnight stays with each parent among a national random sample of 408 separated parents registered with the Australian Child Support Agency (CSA); and (b) develops a typology of parenting time that emphasises the contiguity of overnights and the frequency of children’s transitions between parents’ homes. Parenting time schedules are examined across a range of residence levels from 1-8 overnight stays per fortnight with fathers. While many separated fathers see their children mainly on weekends, the immense diversity of modern parenting time schedules points to a greater sharing of parental responsibilities and richer range of parenting contexts post-separation than previously evident in Australia. The article encourages researchers, parents, practitioners and policymakers to adopt a multi-dimensional view of parenting time rather than focus on time simply as a number or percentage.
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We employed meta-analytic methods to pool information from 63 studies dealing with nonresident fathers and children's well-being. Fathers' payment of child support was positively associated with measures of children's well-being. The frequency of contact with nonresident fathers was not related to child outcomes in general. Two additional dimensions of the father-child relationship—feelings of closeness and authoritative parenting—were positively associated with children's academic success and negatively associated with children's externalizing and internalizing problems.
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This paper draws on interviews with 22 children conducted as part of a larger qualitative study during which 60 parents were interviewed once a year over three years (2009-2011) about their post-separation parenting and financial arrangements, to explore any changes to these over time. The main aim was to examine children's own descriptions and views of their parenting arrangements, with a particular focus on children currently or previously in shared time parenting arrangements, including their input into their parenting arrangements and any changes to those arrangements. Half of the children described changes to their parenting arrangements over time (in most cases from shared time to primary care, but in some cases towards greater sharing of time) and most of these children said they had input into their changed arrangements. Children who spoke positively about shared time described close relationships with cooperative parents who lived within close proximity and who were flexible about changing or swapping days. Children who spoke negatively about shared time identified the distance between their parents' homes and/or parental conflict as key issues. Key factors prompting change were conflict with step-parents or step-siblings, distance between homes and wanting one home base.
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Large numbers of infants and toddlers have parents who live apart due to separation, divorce, or nonmarital/noncohabiting childbearing, yet this important topic, especially the controversial issue of frequent overnights with nonresidential parents, is understudied. The authors analyzed data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal investigation of children born to primarily low-income, racial/ethnic minority parents that is representative of 20 U.S. cities with populations over 200,000. Among young children whose parents lived apart, 6.9% of infants (birth to age 1) and 5.3% of toddlers (ages 1 to 3) spent an average of at least 1 overnight per week with their nonresident parent. An additional 6.8% of toddlers spent 35%–70% of overnights with nonresident parents. Frequent overnights were significantly associated with attachment insecurity among infants, but the relationship was less clear for toddlers. Attachment insecurity predicted adjustment problems at ages 3 and 5, but frequent overnights were not directly linked with adjustment problems at older ages.
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In attempting to fashion developmentally sensitive residential schedules, some courts, with the endorsement of mental health professionals, routinely deprive infants and toddlers of overnights with their fathers. This article analyzes the contributions, misuses, and limitations of theory and research relevant to such restrictions and discusses their scientific status with respect to current knowledge about child development.
-Most parents who live apart negotiate custody arrangements on their own or with the help of lawyers, mediators, or other professionals. However, psychologists and other mental health professionals increasingly have become involved in evaluating children and families in custody disputes, because of the large number of separated, divorced, and never-married parents and the substantial conflict that often accompanies the breakup of a family. Theoretically, the law guides and controls child custody evaluations, but the prevailing custody standard (the "best interests of the child" test) is a vague rule that directs judges to make decisions unique to individual cases according to what will be in children's future (and undefined) best interests. Furthermore, state statutes typically offer only vague guidelines as to how judges (and evaluators) are to assess parents and the merits of their cases, and how they should ultimately decide what custody arrangements will be in a child's best interests. In this vacuum, custody evaluators typically administer to parents and children an array of tests and assess them through less formal means including interviews and observation. Sadly, we find that (a) tests specifically developed to assess questions relevant to custody are completely inadequate on scientific grounds; (b) the claims of some anointed experts about their favorite constructs (e.g., "parent alienation syndrome") are equally hollow when subjected to scientific scrutiny; (c) evaluators should question the use even of well-established psychological measures (e.g., measures of intelligence, personality, psychopathology, and academic achievement) because of their often limited relevance to the questions before the court; and (d) little empirical data exist regarding other important and controversial issues (e.g., whether evaluators should solicit children's wishes about custody; whether infants and toddlers are harmed or helped by overnight visits), suggesting a need for further scientific investigation. We see the system for resolving custody disputes as deeply flawed, for reasons that go beyond the problem of limited science. The coupling of the vague "best interests of the child" test with the American adversary system of justice puts judges in the position of trying to perform an impossible task, and it exacerbates parental conflict and problems in parenting and coparenting, which psychological science clearly shows to be key factors predicting children's psychological difficulties in response to their parents' separation and divorce. Our analysis of the flawed system, together with our desire to sharply limit custody disputes and custody evaluations, leads us to propose three reforms. First, we urge continued efforts to encourage parents to reach custody agreements on their own-in divorce mediation, through collaborative law, in good-faith attorney negotiations, in therapy, and in other forums. Some such efforts have been demonstrated to improve parent-parent and parent-child relationships long after divorce, and they embrace the philosophical position that, in the absence of abuse or neglect, parents themselves should determine their children's best interests after separation, just as they do in marriage. Second, we urge state legislatures to move toward adopting more clear and determinative custody rules, a step that would greatly clarify the terms of the marriage contract, limit the need for custody evaluations, and sharply narrow the scope of the evaluation process. We find particular merit in the proposed "approximation rule" (recently embraced by the American Law Institute), in which postdivorce parenting arrangements would approximate parenting involvement in marriage. Third and finally, we recommend that custody evaluators follow the law and only offer opinions for which there is an adequate scientific basis. Related to this, we urge professional bodies to enact more specific standards of practice on this and related issues. © 2005 Association for Psychological Science.
Article
The AFCC Think Tank on Research, Policy, Practice, and Shared Parenting was convened in response to an identified need for a progression of thinking in the family law field, removed from the current polarizing debates surrounding the postseparation care of infants and very young children. We share this goal as our research and commentaries have been centrally implicated in the current controversies. Our collaboration over this empirical paper and its clinical counterpart endorses the need for higher-order thinking, away from dichotomous arguments, to more inclusive solutions grounded in an integrated psycho-developmental perspective. We first critically appraise the theoretical and empirical origins of current controversies relevant to attachment and parental involvement research. We then describe how attachment and parental involvement contribute complementary perspectives that, taken together, provide a sound basis from which to understand the needs of very young children in separated families. As a companion piece, Part II offers a collective view of a way forward for decision making about overnights for infants and young children, toward the integration of theoretical and empirical with clinical wisdom.
Article
Using a theoretically guided contrast analysis approach (see Furr & Rosenthal, 2003; Rosnow & Rosenthal, 2002) and data from a relatively large community sample (2550 students in grades 7-9), different sets of hypotheses dealing with adolescents' adjustment in four post-divorce family structures were tested. Most of the hypotheses matched with the data. Adolescents from single mother and stepfather families were at a moderately increased risk of displaying various adjustment problems as compared with adolescents from non-divorced two-parent families. The risk level of youth from single father and joint physical custody families each differed in their own ways from the risks of adolescents from the two first-mentioned family structures. Adolescents from single father families reported an alarmingly high amount of antisocial behavior and substance use, while their counterparts from families with joint physical custody were at no higher risk of displaying adjustment problems than their peers from non-divorced families except in the area of school achievement. However, some hypotheses did not match well with the present data. Compared with their counterparts from non-divorced families, adolescents from single father families did not seem to be at increased risk of internalizing problems (depression/ negative self-evaluations). In addition, relatively fewer adolescents from families with stepfathers reported being drunk than expected, while the opposite was true of their peers from joint physical custody families with regard to illegal drugs. Alternative interpretations of the findings were discussed.
Article
In spite of fairly symmetric parental roles in Norway, shared residence and father sole custody still constitute minority practices when parents split up. Survey data of parents living apart show that shared residence is particularly likely when the father has a reasonable income, the mother is highly educated, the mother is currently married and the parents have no other children in their households. Father sole custody is most likely when the mother’s income is low and the father’s high, the child is a boy and fairly old, the father is single and there are other children in the mother’s household.
Article
The literature on parental satisfaction, adjustment, and relitigation in joint custody (JC) versus sole custody (SC) following divorce is reviewed. Findings are summarized for custody differences in parental demographics; time spent with father; the father–child relationship; parental satisfaction with custody; parental adjustment, including self-esteem and parenting stress or burden; conflict between ex-spouses; and relitigation. JC was associated with equivalent or better outcomes than SC in the father–child relationship, parenting stress, parental conflict and relitigation, and overall adjustment. Satisfaction with custody is greatest for both mothers and fathers when they have SC, less in JC, and least for noncustodial parents. Future researchers need larger, more representative samples followed over time.
Article
This article investigates the effects of parenting arrangements on children's behavioral adjustment in postdivorce situations as influenced by interparental aggression, mother-child relationships, children's self-reports of their emotional experiences, and emotional regulation strategies. The findings indicate intriguing pathways through which postdivorce parenting arrangements predict children's behavioral adjustment. Specifically, the positive impact of a dual-residence arrangement on children's adjustment is suppressed by the presence of interparental aggression, children's reported emotion of sadness, and their use of active intervention to regulate their emotions. Implications of the study are discussed.
Article
This article examines children's living arrangements when parents separate, during a period of rapid increase in shared physical custody in the 1990s. With prospective data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (N= 758 families) and a sample of families experiencing parental separation between successive survey cycles, we use multinomial logistic regression techniques to explore how characteristics of parents in intact families (mother's employment, income, and so on) influence physical custody outcomes at separation. Findings indicate that although the way couples share roles while living together has a strong influence on how they divide responsibilities when they separate, other factors also have important roles to play.
Article
This article considers the implications for legal decision-making of one aspect of research on children’s adjustment to parental separation: the significance for child well-being of maintaining a relationship with both parents, either by way of contact with a non-resident parent or by means of a shared (dual) residence arrangement (known in some jurisdictions as ‘joint physical custody’). It is argued that policy-makers who have rejected recent calls for a statutory presumption of child/non-resident parent contact, or of equal division of a child’s time between parents, have acted appropriately in the light of the research evidence.
Article
In attempting to fashion developmentally sensitive residential schedules, some courts, with the endorsement of mental health professionals, routinely deprive infants and toddlers of overnights with their fathers. This article analyzes the contributions, misuses, and limitations of theory and research relevant to such restrictions and discusses their scientific status with respect to current knowledge about child development.