Only a Minority of Families with Court-Ordered Joint Custody are Able to Coparent

(emphasis mine)

"In the large majority of divorcing families, both parents have been involved with the children on a daily basis. Simple continuity with the past, in terms of the roles of the two parents in the lives of the children, is hardly possible. The relationship between parents and children must change markedly."
(Page 1 in Dividing the Child)

" the coparental relationship between divorced parents is something that needs to be constructed, not something that can simply be carried over from pre-separation patterns. It takes times and effort on the part of both parents to arrange their lives in such a way that the children can spend time in both parental households "
(Page 276 in Dividing the Child)

"Only a minority of our families--about 30 percent were able to establish cooperative coparenting relationships. Spousal disengagement, which essentially involved parallel parenting with little communication had become the most common pattern about a quarter of our families remained conflicted at the end of three and a half years."
(Page 277 in Dividing the Child)

"While our study did not attempt to measure the impact of coparenting relations on the well-being of children, the results of the follow-up study of the adolescents in our sample families, as well as the research of others, makes us confident that there are important effects. Children derive real benefits--psychological, social, and economic--when divorced parents can have cooperative coparenting relationships. With conflicted coparental relationships, on the other hand, children are more likely to be caught in the middle, with real adverse effects on the child."
(Page 277 in Dividing the Child)

"A more radical alternative to the present best interests custody standard is a presumption in favor of joint physical custody. We oppose such a presumption. We are deeply concerned about the use of joint physical custody in cases where there is substantial parental conflict such conflict can create grave risks for children. We do not think it good for children to feel caught in the middle of parental conflict, and in those cases where the parents are involved in a bitter dispute we believe a presumption for joint custody would do harm . . . We wish to note, however, that joint custody can work very well when parents are able to cooperate. Thus we are by no means recommending that joint custody be denied to parents who want to try it."
(Pages 284-285 in Dividing the Child)

--Eleanor Maccoby and Robert Mnookin


This, is NOT an endorsement for court-ordered joint custody or shared parenting. This can be construed by those profiteers involved in therapeutic jurisprudence (custody evauluators, parenting coordinators) as an endorsement for more meddling in divorce business. After all, if shared parenting doesn't work (when forced), then let's force the parents to make it work, and threaten them with the law.

Shared parenting works for all the families who choose to do so. Choose. And even so, that arrangement can always be choice.

Take note of the very first sentence--wherein the authors state that both parents have been involved with the children on a daily basis. What does this mean? Involved. Ask what type of shared parenting existed in the intact relationship. Bet it wasn't 50-50!

Joint custody is easy for judges.

Joint custody is profitable for profiteers.

Joint custody is pleasant when it is chosen by the parents.

Forced joint custody suck for the kids.