Public Support Rising for Joint Custody

On behalf of: Fathers Have Rights

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 3, 2011

Finally, Public opinion may have a voice that everyone will be able to hear. Two new studies contend that the public favors equal custody of children whose parents have divorced.
The studies show according to; Arizona State University researchers, cite polls and ballot initiatives that showed there was fantastic public support for equal custody. Additionally, investigators present in a series of hypothetical cases that showed 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 parenting plans are advocated by most fathers’ groups, according to the authors. (Maybe it is time for a change)
“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. More courageous.
Participants in the first study were questioned to imagine they were a judge deciding hypothetical cases. In one case, the mother provided 75 percent of the couple’s pre-divorce child care-giving duties. In another case, the father provided 75 percent of the couple’s pre-divorce child care-giving duties. And, in the third case, the parental couple was described as having divided the pre-divorce child care 50-50.The researchers also found that for participants, in most of the custody cases they were questioned to choose, 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.
“Choice-makers need to recognize the widespread opposition to the current standards that award equal custody only rarely. If they reckon those standards are nonetheless necessary, they need to be more active in defending and justifying their preferences to the public,” More courageous said.
The study will appear in the May 2011 journal Psychology, Public Policy, and Law.
Source: PsychCentral, “Public support rising for joint custody,”

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