Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Survey on Shared Equal Parenting- Facts and Fiction

Research Brochure by


Professor of Women’s Studies

Wake Forest University

ACFC President 2008

American Coalition for Fathers & Children

Michael McCormick, Director


Almost half of the children in the U.S. are deprived of the lifelong benefits of two parents who share the parenting throughout the first 18 years of their children’s lives.

Who are children living with? 42

55% mother & father - 4% unmarried

21% single mother - half divorced & half never married

14% mom & stepdad

5% neither parent

2% mom & her boyfriend

2% single dad

1% dad & stepmom

.5% dad & his girlfriend

Only 15%- 20% of parents share parenting after divorce.6,9,15 Existing legal pro-cedures & attitudes of people who influence the decisions about children’s living arrangements often make shared parenting harder to achieve.25, 26,33,43-47

FACT and FICTION related to Shared Equal Parenting

Fiction: Most children are satisfied with the amount of time they spend (or spent) with their fathers after their parents divorce.

Fact: The vast majority of children say they want–or wanted-more time with their fathers after their parents stopped living together. Kids want more shared parenting 1-16

Fiction: As long as the mother has enough money, children don’t pay a price for having too little or no contact with their father.

Fact: Kids with too little fathering are more likely to have problems throughout their lives related to father absence than kids whose fathers remained actively involved after the parents stop living together. 1-17

Fiction: Most divorced or never married parents are too hostile to share parenting or to benefit from programs on co-parenting.

Fact: Parents generally cooperate more after attending shared parenting programs. Only 10-15% are in high conflict. 18-22

Fiction: Shared parenting is bad for infants or young children because they should not be separated overnight from their mother.

Fact: Very young children should not be away from either parent for more than a few days & are able to spend nights in each parent’s home.23-26

Fiction: When parents share parenting, children are worse off financially because their dad pays much less child support.

Fact: Fathers who share parenting are the most likely to pay child support, spend additional money on their kids, & contribute to college educations. 27, 28, 33, 9

Fiction: Shared parenting is less important than good mothering because fathers know so much less about raising kids than moms do.

Fact: Fathers contribute as much as mothers to children’s well-being, even if their ways of parenting are different. 12, 17, 29-31

Fiction: Most divorced fathers are not interested in sharing more of the parenting.

Fact: The overwhelmingly majority of divorced fathers want more time with their children & more shared parenting. 32- 39

Fiction: Children dislike shared parenting if they actually have to live part time in both parents’ homes, moving back & forth.

Fact: Kids who live part time with each parent after divorce prefer this to living only with one parent.2, 10, 40, 41


1 Ahrons, C. We’re Still Family: What grownup children say about divorce, 2004.

2 Fabricus W. Listening to children of divorce. Family Relations, 2003.

3 Emery, R. The truth about children & divorce. 2004.

4 Finley & Schwartz Father involvement & young adult outcomes. Family Court Review, 2007

5 Harvey & Fine Children of Divorce: Stories of Loss and Growth. 2004.

6 Kelly, J. Children's living arrangements following divorce. Family Process, 2006.

7 Marquard. Between two worlds: Children of divorce. 2005.

8 Sobolewski. Nonresident Fathers' Ties to Children. Marriage & Family, 2005.

9 Wallerstein & Blakeslee What about the kids? 2004.

10 Warshak, R. Listening to children. Family Relations 2003.

11 Scott, Booth & King Post divorce father-adolescent closeness. Journal of Marriage and Family, 2007.

12 Nielsen, L. Fathers & daughters In Teaching about Families, 2005.

13 Nielsen, L. Between Fathers & Daughters: Enriching & Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship, Fall, 2008.

14 Smith, A. Children’s involvement in decision making. Family Law, 2003.

15 Hetherington, M. & Kelly, J. For better or worse: Divorce reconsidered. 2002

16 Bauserman, R. Child adjustment in joint vs. sole custody. Family Psychology, 2002.

17 Lamb, M. The Fathers Role in Child Development, 2004

18 Blaisure & Geasler Educational interventions for divorcing parents In Fine & Harvey’s Handbook of Divorce, 2006.

19 Braver. Prevention programs for div-orced fathers. Family Court Review,2008

20 Pruett et al. Collaborative divorce project. Family Court Review, 2005.

21 Brandon, D. Can four hours make a difference? Divorce & Remarriage, 2006

22 Stone, G. Education programs for div-orced parents.Divorce & Remarriage, 2006

23Assoc. of Family & Conciliation Courts, Planning for shared parenting, 2006.

24 Kelly & Ward. Social science research and ALI’s approximation rule. Family Court Review, 2002

25 Pruett, M. Parenting plans for young children. Family Court Review, 2004.

26 Warshak, R. Overnight contact between parents & young children. Family Court Review, 2000.

27 Fabricus & Braver. Divorced parents financial support of college expenses, Family Court Review, 2003

28 Custodial mothers, fathers & child support: 2005. Population Characteristics.

Department of Commerce. Census Bureau

29Flouri, E. Fathering & Child Outcomes 2005

30Farrell,W. Father- Child Reunion, 2004

31 Tarnis & Cabrera. Handbook of Father Involvement, 2002

32 Nielsen, L. Demeaning, demoralizing & disenfranchising divorced dads. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 1999.

33 Braver, S. Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths, 1998

34 Bokker, Farley & Denny. Well being among recently divorced fathers. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 2005

35 Fagan & Hawkins. Educational Interventions with Fathers, 2003.

36 Hallman & Deinhart. Fathers’ experiences after divorce. Fathering, 2007.

37 Stone, G. Divorced fathers well being. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 2007.

38 Frieman, R. Understanding noncustodial parents. Divorce & Remarriage, 2007.

39 Warshak, R. Divorce Poison, 2002.

40 Buchanan & Maccoby. Adolescents after divorce. 1996.

41 Laumann & Emery. Adults from divorced families Family Psychology, 2000.

42 Children’s Living Arrangements:2003. Census Bureau.

43 Kelly,J. Ethical problems with custody. Family Court Review, 2005.

44 Stamps, L. Judges maternal preferences in custody Family Court Review, 2002

45 Williams, G. Judicial response to cus-tody. Law & Society Conference, 2007

46 Kruk, E. Shared parental responsibility law reform. Divorce & Remarriage, 2005.

47Dotterweich & McKinney Gender bias in custody cases Family Court Review,2000.

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