Yuri Joakimides has once again produced an extremely useful listing for those dads who are facing a negative response to the suggestion of shared parenting. Thanks Yuri.

Recently published must read shared parenting research that lays to rest the most common claims made by those who seek to eliminate or marginalize fathers in the lives of their children post-divorce.

Edward Kruk (2012) Arguments for an Equal Parental Responsibility Presumption in Contested Child Custody. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 40:1, 33-55


Sixteen arguments in support of an equal parental responsibility presumption in contested child custody are presented from a child focused perspective, and clinical and empirical evidence in support of each argument is contrasted to the conflicting evidence. These arguments are made in support of the model equal parental responsibility presumption outlined in Volume 39, Number 5, of The American Journal of Family Therapy.

Linda Nielsen (2011) Shared Parenting after Divorce: A Review of Shared Residential Parenting Research. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 52:8, 586-609


One of the most complex and compelling issues confronting policymakers, parents, and the family court system is what type of parenting plan is most beneficial for children after their parents’ divorce. How much time should children live with each parent? An increasing number of children are living with each parent at least 35% of the time in shared residential parenting families: How are these children and their parents faring? In what ways, if any, do divorced parents who share the residential parenting differ from parents whose children live almost exclusively with their mother? How stable are shared residential parenting plans? By reviewing the existing studies on shared parenting families, these questions are addressed.

Linda Nielsen (2013) Parenting Time & Shared Residential Custody: Ten Common Myths. The Nebraska Lawyer, January/February 2013


What is the best parenting plan for most children of divorce? Should infants and toddlers spend overnight time with their non-residential parent? If not, why not? If so, how much time? Is shared residential custody better for children than living with one parent and varying amounts of time living with their other parent – mainly on weekends? Isn’t shared residential custody only successful for a small group of well educated, higher income parents who have very cooperative, conflict free relationships – and who mutually agree to share without mediation, litigation or lawyers’ negotiations? Since most married mothers do 80% of the childcare, after a divorce shouldn’t the children live that same proportion of time with her?

Questions such as these generate a great deal of debate among the judiciary, policy makers and mental health professionals. Unfortunately they also generate myths and misconceptions that are frequently presented as “the research” at conferences and seminars, on the web, or in non-academic articles. At best, these myths far over-reach and exaggerate the findings from only a few of the existing studies. At worst, they have virtually no grounding whatsoever in current research.

Either way, misconceptions that are not grounded on a broad spectrum of recent, methodologically sound, statistically significant empirical data have an impact on custody decisions and custody laws. By empirical data I mean research studies where quantitative data has been statistically analyzed and published in peer reviewed academic journals – in contrast to articles where opinions or theories are being presented, often without benefit of peer review. Regrettably we social scientists have done a poor job sharing the empirical research with other professionals or with divorcing parents. As a result, a handful of studies – often out-dated or seriously flawed methodologically – are widely disseminated as “the research”. In that spirit, this abbreviated overview presents recent research that refutes ten of the most common beliefs related to child custody.

Michael E Lamb, M. E. A (July 2012) Wasted Opportunity to Engage with the Literature on the Implications of Attachment Research for Family Court Professionals. Family Court Review, 50:3, 481-485

Michael Lamb’s paper is a rebuttal of Jennifer McIntosh’s position on attachment theory as set out in the July 2011 Family Court Review – McIntosh’s recent research is influential in Australia and often used in the UK by opponents of shared care


The Family Court Review Special Issue edited by McIntosh provided a misleadingly narrow view of attachment theory and of previous attempts to explore the implications of that theory and related research for family court professionals. For example, the editor chose to interview professionals whose opinions seemed likely to accord with hers, and when they dissented, she failed to explore the implications. She thus represented Bowlby’s notion of monotropy as though it was an established and accepted fact; neither the research (which shows the idea to be incorrect) nor Bowlby’s own later disavowal of the idea were addressed, although the implications are profound. More generally, the extensive relevant scholarship was ignored and unrepresented, leaving the unchallenged focus on the editor’s own research and on opinions that accord with her own. As a result, the Special Issue became a platform for opinion, rather than a forum for critical examination of the literature.

Key Points for the Family Court Community:

  • Most children in two-parent families form attachments to both of their parents at the same stage in their development.
  • Relationships with both their mother and father profoundly affect children’s adjustment, whether or not they live together.
  • Professionals need to be careful when generalizing from research which may have involved families in circumstances quite unlike those experienced by the individuals they are trying to assist.



Attachment(s) from Yuri Joakimidis

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