Study examines challenges of shared parenting

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One of the most difficult, contentious issues in divorce is child custody. In the past, it was nearly automatically assumed that the mother would have primary custody of the children, but there’s been a dramatic shift in St. Louis and across the nation in recent years toward shared parenting arrangements.

A study last year showed that nearly 70 percent of Americans now favor shared, equal custody when both the mom and dad have been involved in parenting duties before their split.

A new study takes a look at those shared parenting arrangements among a group most would expect to have their difficulties in those kinds of pacts: high-conflict couples.

A recent Huffington Post article by a University of Illinois professor of human development takes a look at some of the data from the Australian study of 133 couples over four years.

The average age of the kids in the study was 13, though children ranged from six to 19 years old.

The families in the study all went through mediation to arrive at their parenting arrangements. (Prior to mediation, 60 percent went with a primary parenting arrangement and 40 percent went with an equal, shared parenting set-up.)

At the onset of the four-year period, 42 percent of fathers and 59 percent of mothers said they were in high conflict with their ex. Half of the fathers and 63 percent of the moms said they didn’t have a high opinion of the other’s parenting skills.

We’ll get into some of the changes in parenting arrangements that happened to the studied families in an upcoming post.

Here in St. Louis, parents in conflict often turn to mediation as a way to resolve difficult issues such as child custody disputes and property division disagreements. Talk to a family law experienced in mediation to find out if this process might work for you.

Source: Huffington Post: “What Happens To Shared Parenting Arrangements Among High-Conflict Couples Over Time?,” Robert Hughes Jr., March 6, 2012

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