TRUTH About Joint Custody
TO EXTREMIST CLAIMS MADE ABOUT
JOINT CUSTODY ...
Joint custody reduces
because both parents are able to maintain a strong relationship with
If you were only allowed to see your child four days a month, how would
you feel? Conflict is almost inevitable when
one parent fights for sole custody, denying the other parent a role in
raising the child. Sole custody causes conflict,
while joint custody helps to reduce it.
custody helps parents cooperate for the sake of the children.
Custody battles are, of
who will raise the child. When both parents are able to
maintain their role as parents, instead of one parent and
one "visitor", they can focus on what is best for the child, rather
than fighting to either retain control as the only
parent, or to regain their role as a parent.
custody is not a panacea, but
it is so effective in maintaining a child's relationship with both
outcomes for children are much
better than for sole custody, and in most ways do not differ from an
do best when they are able to retain a relationship with both
parents. Most parents recognize the
importance of both being involved in raising their children.
Active involvement of both parents is just as important
if parents are separated or divorced.
Joint physical custody does not reduce
material and financial support for children. Financial
is determined using a sliding scale to adjust for time spent with
parents and differences in parent incomes. Allowing
parents to remain involved means money can be spent on the children,
rather than costly
custody most closely resembles an intact family.
Children unavoidably have two homes as a result of
divorce, but they do best when they can keep the emotional ties with
both parents - because they have two
instead of one "real parent" and one "former parent." Emotional
ties and family relationships are more important than
excerpts from the American
Association report to the US
Commission on Child and
Family Welfare, which is public record. The full report and more
recent research can be found on the
research page here.
describing Outcomes of Joint Custody
American Psychological Association
research that included child adjustment criteria concerning the study
of joint custody will be
Best Interest of the Child Standard
used relevant to this issue. The two studies with the best methodology
(Buchanan, Maccoby, &
Dombush, 199 1; Burnett, 199 1) indicated that joint custody versus
sole maternal custody was
associated with adolescents’ positive adjustment. This
finding was replicated for children by
Abarbanel(l979). Greif (1979), and Luepnitz (1986) but not Johnston,
Kline & Tschann (1989)
and Kline, Tschann, Johnston & Wallerstein (1989). It
is concluded that the present research
joint custody for facilitating children’s adjustment.
Kelly (1994) pointed out that feminists are opposed to joint custody
due to concern that child
support to mothers will be reduced when compared to sole maternal
custody. The consensus of
studies that addressed this issue found that child
support to mothers is either increased in joint
families or not significantly different from those with sole maternal
1992a; Emery & Wyer, 1987; Emery, Matthews, & Wyer,
1991; Luepnitz, 1986; and Shrier,
Simring, Shapiro, 1991).
and Costs to the Family
The emotional and financial relitigation costs to families and judicial
systems is often cited by both
proponents and opponents regarding joint custody. The studies reviewed
that investigated this
issue consistently indicated decreased
relitigation for joint custody
versus sole maternal custody
(Dudley, 1991; Emery & Wyer, 1987; Emery, Matthews, &
Wyer 1991; and Luepnitz, 1986).
The replicated finding and the weight of evidence were that joint
custody results in either less
or no greater
conflict than sole maternal
custody (Albiston et al., 1990; Arditti, 1992a; Buchanan et al.,
1991; Burnett, 1991; Greiff, 1979; Kline et al., 1989; Luepnitz, 1986;
and Maccoby et al., 1990).
The earlier review of decreased relitigation for joint custody versus
sole maternal custody also
supports this conclusion. The sole exception to these findings was by
Johnston, Kline and Tschann
(1989) but as Ferreiro (1990) pointed out, this study included a biased
sample of divorced families
referred due to high conflict.