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Public Support Rising for Joint Custody

Public Support Rising for Joint CustodyAs a sign of how times are a-changin’, two new studies contend that the public favors equal custody of children whose parents have divorced.

In the studies, Arizona State University researchers cite polls and ballot initiatives that showed there was great public support for equal custody. Moreover, investigators present in a series of hypothetical cases that surveyed individuals had a strong preference for dividing the child’s time equally between mother and father.

Survey responders believed equally divided time was appropriate even when there were high levels of parental conflict for which both parents were equally to blame.

Equally shared custody arrangements are advocated by most fathers’ groups, according to the authors.

“The striking degree to which the public favors equal custody combined with their view that the current court system under-awards parenting time to fathers could account for past findings that the system is seriously slanted toward mothers, and suggests that family law may have a public relations problem,” said lead author Sanford L. Braver.

Survey participants in the first study were asked to imagine they were a judge deciding a series of hypothetical cases. In one case vignette, the mother provided 75 percent of the couple’s pre-divorce child care-giving duties. In another vignette, the father provided 75 percent of the couple’s pre-divorce child care-giving duties. And, in the third vignette, the parental couple was described as having divided the pre-divorce child care 50-50.

The researchers also found that for survey participants, in most of the custody cases they were asked to decide, they judged that equal custody was strongly preferred, a preference that current law does not generally allow unless the two parties agree.

There apparently is widespread belief that the legal system will fashion custody awards far more favorable to mothers than the respondents believe appropriate.

“Decision-makers need to recognize the widespread opposition to the current standards that award equal custody only rarely. If they think those standards are nonetheless necessary, they need to be more active in defending and justifying their preferences to the public,” Braver said.

The study will appear in the May 2011 journal Psychology, Public Policy, and Law.

Source: Arizona State University

Public Support Rising for Joint Custody

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Public Support Rising for Joint Custody. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2011/05/03/public-support-rising-for-joint-custody/25861.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.