Research On Shared Parenting and Joint Custody

"Joint custody and shared parenting have been studied for more than a quarter-century, with the majority of studies indicating significant benefits for children. About a third of existing studies show no difference between joint and sole custody for children's adjustment to divorce. The critical factor appears to be conflict between parents. When parents cooperate and minimize conflict, children do better with shared parenting. If there is significant conflict between parents, however, shared parenting provides no benefits and children do no better (and no worse) than they do in sole custody. This section summarizes some of the research published in the past decade."
The above "summary" is a misrepresentation of the state of the research. Rarely has so much politically-motivated effort been put into social research in the hopes of proving a desired finding and yielded so little. Rarely have so many strained arguments and optimistic can-do slants been incorporated into researchers' write-ups as has been the case with findings emanating out of joint custody and father involvement studies.

-- See generally William Marsiglio, Paul Amato, Randal D Day, Michael E Lamb (2000) Scholarship on Fatherhood in the 1990s and Beyond Journal of Marriage and Family 62 (4), 1173-1191.

"The children... whose lives were governed by court orders or mediated parental arrangements all told me that they felt like second-class citizens who had lost the freedoms their peers took for granted. They say that as they grew older and craved independence, they had even less say, less control over their schedules and less power to determine when and where they could spend their time -- especially precious vacation time."

-- Judith Wallerstein, in Unexpected Legacy (A Twenty-Five Year Landmark Study, Hyperion 2000, p 181-2.

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