7 Arguments in Support of Co-Parenting

Posted on September 2, 2013. Filed under: story | Tags: , , , , |

Published on April 16, 2012 by Edward Kruk, Ph.D. in Co-Parenting After Divorce

I have long maintained that a more child-focused approach to resolving parenting disputes after separation and divorce is needed to reduce harm to children and ensure their well-being. Usually, when parents cannot agree on parenting matters, they take their case to a judge for a resolution. The court then applies a “best interests of the child” standard in its decision-making in regard to kids’ future living arrangements. The problem is, however, that this standard is extremely vague and indeterminate, based on projective speculation about which parent might in future be the “better” parent, and thus subject to judicial bias and error. Judges not trained in child development and family dynamics are given unfettered discretion, and this results in unpredictable outcomes based on idiosyncratic biases and subjective value judgments.

Our current system of resolving child custody disputes rarely considers either children’s needs from children’s own perspective, or current research on child custody outcomes. What is needed is a new standard, a “best interests of the child from the perspective of the child” standard, and an approach to child custody determination that is built on a strong foundation of empirical research.

My recent article in the American Journal of Family Therapy, “Arguments for an Equal Parental Responsibility Presumption in Contested Child Custody,” outlines sixteen distinct arguments in support of a shared parental responsibility presumption in contested child custody, which are presented from a child-focused perspective, with clinical and empirical evidence in support of each argument contrasted to the conflicting evidence. The shared parental responsibility alternative addresses the problems associated with judicial bias and error. The seven arguments are as follows:

1. Shared parenting preserves children’s relationships with both parents

2. Shared parenting preserves parents’ relationships with their children

3. Shared parenting decreases parental conflict and prevents family violence

4. Shared parenting enhances the quality of parent-child relationships

5. Shared parenting decreases parental focus on “mathematizing time” and reduces litigation

6. Shared parenting provides a clear and consistent guideline for judicial decision-making

7. Shared parenting reduces the risk and incidence of parental alienation

Many of these findings run counter to now-outdated research and prevailing practice wisdom in the field of divorce. However, there is an emergent consensus within the divorce research community that in the great majority of contested cases of child custody, where family violence is not a factor, children’s needs and interests are best served by preserving meaningful relationships with both of their parents. Children need and want both parents in their lives, beyond the constraints of “visitation” relationships and “primary caregiver” arrangements. Shared parenting is a viable and desirable alternative in this regard, and “in the best interests of the child from the perspective of the child.”

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Leading Women For Shared Parenting

Posted on September 2, 2013. Filed under: story | Tags: , , , , |

Leading Women for Shared Parenting was founded to dispel the widespread myth that it is only – or even mainly – disgruntled fathers with limited access to their children who promote equal shared parenting as the default model for separating parents.

That is simply not the truth.

Polls in the United States, Canada and other western countries consistently demonstrate overwhelming support in the general population for equally shared parenting. Both fair-minded men and women across all social and cultural lines understand that mothers and fathers are equally important in the lives of their children.

For some years a number of prominent women in media and politics have been championing this issue in the public forum of ideas and in policy-making circles. Eventually they sought a common platform from which they could bring their support for equal shared parenting to effective attention and positive legislative action.

Thus LW4SP came into being, with more than 150 influential women lending their names in support of the equal shared parenting principle.

LW4SP is made of up Leading Woman from all walks of life including prominent authors, activists, researchers, academics, advocates, domestic violence experts, columnists, therapists, legislators, attorneys, PTA Presidents and more. Most importantly however, LW4SP has a highly engaged membership, comprised of over two-thirds Women, who are determined to change Family Law in the most crucial way; to benefit the well-being of Children. Our organization is assisted by a group of passionate volunteers whose tireless efforts make all the difference.

Click on the link below to listen to Jill Egizii (of Family Matters) talk with 4 women who are involved with Leading Women for Shared Parenting (LW4SP). These 4 women share their stories about why they got involved with LW4SP.

leading-women-for-shared-parenting

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