We have learned that the ability to cooperate around parenting issues can be encouraged and enhanced with limited and relatively inexpensive education, counseling, or skillful mediation.
I am concerned about the position that argues that joint custody should not be awarded when parents do not agree.
In these cases it is almost always the woman who is opposed to joint custody. Women do not need to ask for, not agree to, joint custody. They are presumed by society, lawyers, the courts, and themselves to have a right to keep the children in their care and protection.
It is the father who must ask for joint custody and it is often in the mother's power to agree or disagree.
The mother's position is particularly enhanced if she knows that a refusal to share parenting with her spouse will preclude a joint custody order regardless of her reasons for denying joint custody.
In this context, it would be important to study women who refuse a request for joint custody.
By presuming joint custody as early as possible in the court process, parties are impelled to attend to the child's needs, thereby encouraging mature behavior and discouraging divisive, childish conflict.
Shared parenting with mutual responsibility -- joint custody -- is in the best interest of the child, parents, society, and the court system. Those courts can assist the parents in settling their own disagreements by providing a context for negotiation and helping to mold specific child-centered joint custody agreements.
The quality of the relationship between the mother and the father, especially at the time of separation, does not predict whether a joint custody arrangement can work.
If there is a legal and social expectation that parents must negotiate with each other, there is a higher likelihood that it will occur than if the expectation is that they are too embittered to even talk to one another.
Many fathers in conflictual situations stated that joint custody could be successful if the legal agreement specifically enumerated the responsibilities of each parent and did not depend on their good will towards each other as a means of resolving differences.
(Emphasizes the cumulative stress on the child rather than looking at divorce as an isolated event in the child's life.)
(Relationships among family members) do not end when divorce occurs (they are) merely altered….
Current patterns of custody, visitation, and child support show low deviations from the traditional mother custody, bimonthly visitation with a father who pays child support.
This fact challenges any supposition that arrangements are tailored to meet the specific needs of the particular family. It is more logical to conclude that these decisions are made according to fairly rigid, conventionalized standards that poorly accommodate the variety of circumstances among individual families in minimizing stressful situations. (several sources are quoted).
(The) duration of contact with the father was directly related to the quality of the father-child relationship and, indirectly, to the child's adjustment.
(The) key factors (are:) insure that the father (has) easy access to his children and input into his children's lives, both of which are frequently denied fathers in actual practice.
(Results) show better results for joint custody than sole custody.
(The) relitigation rate for joint custody was half that for sole custody (16% vs. 32%).
Findings indicate a statistically significant association between time lost in the presence of the father and current adjustment. The more time lost, the higher the maladjustment score.
(Of those families in the sample) in which custody had been decided by the court, there was one family in which there was joint custody. In all other cases, whether custody had or had not been determined by the court, children lived with their mothers.
(Story) of a 6 year old boy who, when asked what the most difficult aspect of his family situation was, responded tearfully, 'I miss my daddy.' He had not seen his father for 2 months.
. . . an 8 year old boy complained about the interference of the extended family in allowing him to telephone his father. He had learned to put through emergency calls to his father quickly when others were not around.
…the direct impact on the child's psyche of reduced contact with the father is an important factor to be considered in further research.
Joint Custody comes out very well as do fathers who want to remain involved. The article has copious quotes from the articles recommending joint custody and it appears that this is the author's vent.
(Joint custody) does not mean that physical custody is necessarily divided equally …
(Joint custody means) both parents have equal input in major decisions affecting their children….
(The) adjustment of children is related to the quality of their relationship with both parents. (emphasis is the author's)
"(The) children (were) dissatisfaction with the paucity of visits under the 'reasonable visitation' standard (often translated into visiting on alternative weekends)."
…frequent visits (had a) positive effect on adjustment….
Boys in joint custody were significantly better adjusted than boys in sole custody (Pojman, 1982);
joint custody fathers were significantly more involved than sole custody fathers and indicated less court use (Bowman, 1983);
Children were "thriving", not just "adjusting" in JMC (Roman & Haddad, 1978);
Children in single mother custody show significant behavior problems (Touliatos & Lindholm, 1980);
In comparative tests, joint custody boys were better adjusted than maternal custody boys. (Shiller, 1984);
Children whose parents shared residential care of the child were rated better adjusted by their mothers. (Cowan, 1982);
Parents with joint physical custody are less likely to litigate than parents with only joint legal custody. Joint custody parents are less likely to litigate when they are must bargain in the shadow of a strong joint custody statute. (Alexander, Ilfeld, & Ilfeld, 1982);
Joint custody awards appear particularly beneficial to mothers. (Hanson, 1986);
When parents were asked to imagine themselves in one of three custody situations, the sole custody arrangement when compared to the joint custody one encouraged punitive behavior and concern for self-interest. (Patrician, 1984);
Fewer joint custody cases than sole custody cases were relitigated. (Phear, Bech, Hauser, Clark, & Whitney, 1984);
Children from joint custody families were more satisfied with time spent with each parent than children from sole custody families. (Welsh-Osga, 1981);
Negative feelings are intensified for children in sole custody families. (Karp, 1982);
Of 28 families mediated into joint custody over their sole custody wishes, none returned to court for litigation. Joint custody awards over the objection of one parent have proven successful. (Irving, Benjamin, & Trocme, 1984).