Wednesday

2005 Study by Margaret Brinig on the Effects of Presumptive Joint Custody Laws

I know you father's supremacists are trying really hard to jump Pennsylvania into the scheme. Here's some info for you:

"...[S]eparation after the custody statute took effect, holding other things constant, was statistically significantly related to a decrease in the absolute dollars of child support awards, with a difference of about $80 a month. However, even this turns into a larger net loss in buying power for the custodial parent because of inflation during the same time period..

"[Presumption of joint custody] legislation increased the number of motions to modify or enforce parenting time or child custody... the number did increase significantly (and almost doubled) following enactment of the statute. Most of these motions were to change custody or visitation, not to enforce parenting time...

"If the desire of the legislation was to make it easier for unhappy parents to enforce their visitation time, its purpose was clearly not met... "Constitutionalizing child custody, or

"litigating in terms of individual parents' rights, is likely to harm children in many ways. They may end up living with a parent more interested in punishing the former spouse than in doing what the child needs. They may have less money with which to live, as a child support settlement for lower than the guideline amount pays off a parent claiming joint custody, or if a joint custody solution is ordered but not actualized, or if scarce resources are expended on pre or post-divorce litigation. They may live the life of peripatetic suitcase-dwellers, and even worse, may be shuttled between parents who actively seek to undermine each other. Joint custody may be a fine (and even the optimal) solution if desired by both parents who are willing to work hard towards its success.

"Mandatory joint custody, or even a movement in that direction, seems to cause a number of other problems that perhaps its proponents did not anticipate. Unfortunately,

"the biggest winners, at least in Oregon, seem to be not so much the traditionally noncustodial parents, but rather the mediators and, slightly less dramatically, the divorce attorneys."

-- Brinig, Margaret (2005). Does Parental Autonomy Require Equal Custody at Divorce? The University of Iowa College of Law, University of Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper Number 05-13 April, 2005

Courtesy of the Liz Library.