I have the utmost intention of helping you out! There is no doubt
that in a healthy situation, children need both parents around them as
much as possible.
In my research, the terms "equal custody", "shared custody" and
"joint custody" are often used interchangeably. Therefore, I have
included references that highlight the benefits of shared/joint/equal
custody as opposed to sole custody. Regardless of the actual term
used, I have tried to find research which points to the benefits of a
father having more time with the child than mere visitation a few days
Since the term "equal parenting" often brought up articles
highlighting the benefits of equal division of duties within the
marriage, I substituted "equal custody" to find the pertinent
Some of the cited articles are found on Father's Rights websites.
However, I have only included those that support joint or shared
parenting based on sound research.
If some of these resources overlap in their citations, please forgive
"Statistics Supporting Shared Parenting."
This article compiles a WEALTH of statistics and research supporting
the value of shared parenting. Unfortunately, all the articles must be
accessed through library reference as there are no internet links.
Benefits of Joint Custody: Statistics, Analyses, Data, And Anecdotal
Evidence In Support Of Joint Custody Statutes.
"This collection of citations and statistics demonstrates the benefits
that joint custody provides to children. Most of these excerpts come
from longer, more detailed articles, many of which can be found on the
SPARC web site."
(You can peruse these references to find those you consider most
"Expert Evidence in Favor of Shared Parenting." Parental Equality ie.
From "Keeping Divorced Dads Involved," by Lynette Summerill. ASU
Results of a study by ASU psychology professor William Fabricius of
820 college-aged adults "indicated that adults who were children of
divorced parents wanted to have more time with their noncustodial
fathers as they were growing up. They believed equal time with each
parent was best. The study showed the living arrangements they had as
children offered them little time with the noncustodial parent.
Of the participants, 57 percent said that their father had wanted more
time with them, but that their mother limited that contact. Only about
10 percent of the sample grew up spending equal time with each parent.
"Statistics that show divorced fathers spend little time with their
children may be accurate, but they do not tell us that this is
necessarily what fathers want," Fabricius says. "Some fathers may want
little time, but others - 44 percent in this study - wanted to take
equal responsibility for child rearing but were prevented by
circumstances from doing so."
Fabricius says that childrens wishes should be taken into
consideration when deciding living arrangements. Equal time with each
parent creates an equitable living arrangement in which parents do not
see the custody issue as a win or lose situation for themselves.
For more information, contact Sanford L. Braver, Ph.D., (480)
965-5405, or William V. Fabricius, Ph.D., (480) 965-9372, Department
of Psychology. Send e-mail to Sanford.Braver@asu.edu, or to
The following excerpts are taken from a sample legal argument in favor
of equal parenting. You should read the entire argument, since it is
chock full of research citations regarding the benefits of shared
parenting versus the traditional arrangement of limited visitation.
"MEMORANDUM IN FAVOR OF JOINT CUSTODY AND SHARED PARENTING." Michigan
Sample Legal Argument to include in Joint Custody Pleadings. Travis
Dr. Frank Williams, a leading authority on the effects of divorce on
children compared joint custody to traditional visitation arrangements
in his October 20, 1990, address in Washington, D.C. (Address to the
Fifth Annual Conference of the Children's Rights Council, aka National
Council for Children's Rights.)
"It is the continued parental bonding, not the number of homes or
vehicular travel, that will be the crucial determinant of children;s
forward psychological development following divorce. In these days,
when both parents frequently work, and rely on sharing the
child-rearing with each other, with other family members, and with
housekeepers and day care personnel, the concept of one 'primary
psychological caretaker' is outdated. Frequently there are two
psychological caretakers, or a network of caretakers, supervised by
"The emotional stability of children of divorced parents is directly
related to the quality of their continuing relationships with both of
their parents. "We have repeatedly described the dissatisfaction of so
many youngsters who felt they were not seeing their fathers often
enough, If custody and visiting issues are to be within the realm of
the 'best interest of the child,' then such widespread discontent must
be taken very seriously."
(J. Wallerstein and J. Kelly, Surviving the Breakup, 142-143 (1980) .
(See also, D. Luepnitz, Child Custody, A Study of Families After
In a revised version of an address presented by Dr. Joan Kelly, who
has performed extensive research on the effects of divorce upon
children, at the annual meetings of the American Psychological
Association in 1987, Kelly wrote:
"The primary negative aspect of divorce reported by children in
numerous studies was loss of contact with a parent (Hetherington et
al., 1982; Kurdek & Berg, 1983; Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980, Warshak &
Santrock, 1983). The traditional visiting pattern of every other
weekend, most often a maximum of four overnights spent with the father
per month, created intense dissatisfaction among children, and
especially young boys. Youngsters expressed profound feelings of
deprivation and loss, and reactive depressions were frequently
observed in young school-aged boys (Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980)." Id.
Indeed, sole custody arrangements with limited visitation by the
non-custodial parent have resulted in children suffering a broad range
of emotional disorders including deep feelings of loss and
abandonment, strained interactions with both parents, disturbances in
cognitive performance, and sex role identification problems.
Trombetta, Joint Custody: Recent Research and Overloaded Courtrooms
Inspire New Solutions to Custody Disputes, 19 J. Fam. L. 213, 217-20
The following abstracts can be found at:
"Research on Shared Parenting and Joint Custody."
Glover, R. and C. Steele, "Comparing the Effects on the Child of
Post-divorce Parenting Arrangements," Journal of Divorce, Vol. 12, No.
This study evaluated children aged 6 to 15 in the areas of locus of
control, self-concept, and family relationships. The children were
divided into three groups: shared custody, maternal custody, and
intact families. Intact family children had averaged higher than
divorced family children on self-concept and father relationships, and
shared custody children averaged higher the sole custody children in
these areas. Intact family children had fewer least-positive
responses in all areas than divorced family children, and shared
custody children had fewer least-positive responses than sole custody
children in all areas except mother relationship. This study
indicates that, on average, a two parent intact family is the best
arrangement for children, and a shared parenting arrangement is better
than a sole custody arrangement, i.e., a two-parent family is better
even if parents are divorced.
Lerman, Isabel A. "Adjustment of latency age children in joint and
single custody arrangements." California School of Professional
Psychology, San Diego, 1989
This study evaluated 90 children, aged 7 to 12, divided equally among
maternal, joint legal, and joint physical custody groups.
Results showed negative effects for sole custody: "Single custody
subjects evidenced greater self-hate and perceived more rejection from
their fathers than joint physical custody subjects." Conflict between
parents was found to be a significant factor, which may explain the
better adjustment for joint physical custody children: "Degree of
interparental conflict was a significant predictor of child self-hate.
Higher conflict was associated with greater self-hate; lower conflict
was associated with lower self-hate." "Higher father-child contact was
associated with better adjustment, lower self-hate, and lower
perceived rejection from father; lower father-child contact was
associated with poorer adjustment, higher self-hate, and higher
perceived rejection from father
The following excerpt is from "The Effects of Divorce on Children," by
Jeff Wood. UCLA.
"Joint custody versus sole custody has also been a topic of interest
among researchers. Bender (1994) recently reviewed the literature and
found that the majority of studies indicate that joint physical
custody is better than sole custody from the standpoint of children's
adjustment. For one of the more influential and well-designed studies
on this topic, see Wolchik, Sandler, and Braver (1985), who found that
joint custody was superior in numerous ways."
Bender, W.N. (1994). Joint custody: The option of choice. Journal of
Divorce and Remarriage, 21, 115-131.
Wolchik, S.A., Braver, S.L., Sandler, I.N. (1985). Maternal versus
joint custody: Children's postseparation experiences and adjustment.
Journal of Clinical Child Psychiatry, 14, 5-10.
All of the following references are from:
"Research bibliography on divorce and shared parenting." American
D.B. Cowan. Mother Custody versus Joint Custody: Children`s parental
Relationship and Adjustment. Doctoral Thesis 1982. University of
Washington. UMI No. 82-18213.
"Cowan compared 20 joint custody and 20 sole (maternal) custody
families. Children in joint physical custody were rated as better
adjusted by their mothers compared with children of sole custody
mothers. The children's perceptions in sole custody situations
correlated with the amount of time spent with their father."
"The more time children from sole maternal custody spent with their
fathers, the more accepting both parents were perceived to be, and the
more well-adjusted were the children."
M.B. Isaacs, G.H. Leon and M. Kline. When is a parent out of the
picture? Different custody, different perceptions. Family Process,
v.26, p.101-110, 1987.
This study compares children from five groups: joint physical custody,
joint-legal maternal-physical, joint-legal paternal-physcial, sole
maternal and sole paternal custody. On their measurement of how
children perceive the importance of family members, sole custody
children were three times more likely to omit one parent than joint
.B. Karp. Children`s adjustment in joint and single custody: An
Empirical Study. Doctoral thesis 1982. California school of
professional psychology, Berkeley. UMI No. 83-6977.
"Age range of children 5 to 12 years, studying early period of
separation or divorce. Boys and girls in sole custody situation had
more negative involvement with their parents than in joint custody
situation. There was an increase reported in sibling rivalry reported
for sole custody children when visiting their father (ncp). Girls in
joint custody reported to have significantly higher self-esteem than
girls in sole custody."
S.A. Nunan. Joint custody versus single custody effects on child
development. Doctoral thesis 1980. California School of Professional
Psychology, Berkeley, UMI No. 81-10142
"Nunan compared 20 joint custody children (ages 7-11) with 20
age-matched children in sole maternal custody. All families were at
least two years after separation or divorce. Joint custody children
were found to have higher ego strengths, superego strengths and
self-esteem than the single custody children. The joint custody
children were also found to be less excitable and less impatient than
their sole custody counterparts. For children under four at the time
of separation the differences were very small."
"Adolescents After Divorce, Buchanan, C., Maccoby, and Dornbusch,
Harvard University Press,1996.
A study of 517 families with children ranging in age from 10.5 years
to 18 years, across a four and a half year period. Measures were:
assessed depression, deviance, school effort, and school grades.
Children in shared parenting arrangements were found to have better
adjustment on these measures than those in sole custody.
The following abstracts can be found on the following website:
From "Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children: A Developmental
Vulnerability Model Neil Kalter, Ph.D., University of Michigan,
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57(4), October, 1987.
"Finally, girls whose parents divorce may grow up without the day to
day experience of interacting with a man who is attentive, caring and
loving. The continuous sense of being valued and loved as a female
seems an especially key element in the development of the conviction
that one is indeed femininely lovable. Without this regular source of
nourishment, a girl's sense of being valued as a female does not seem
From "Examining Resistance to Joint Custody, Monograph by Joan Kelly,
Ph.D. (associate of Judith Wallerstein, Ph.D) From the 1991 Book Joint
Custody and Shared Parenting, second edition, Guilford Press, 1991.
"It is ironic, and of some interest, that we have subjected joint
custody to a level and intensity of scrutiny that was never directed
towa the traditional post-divorce arrangement (sole legal and physical
custody to the mother and two weekends each month of visiting to the
father.) Developmental and relationship theory should have alerted the
mental health field to the potential immediate and long range
consequences for the child of only seeing a parent four days each
month. And yet until recently, there was no particular challenge to
this traditional post-divorce parenting arrangement, despite growing
evidence that such post-divorce relationships were not sufficiently
nurturing or stabilizing for many children and parents."
"There is some evidence that in our well-meaning efforts to save
children in the immediate post-separation period from anxiety,
confusion, and the normative divorce-engendered conflict, we have set
the stage in the longer run for the more ominous symptoms of anger,
depression, and a deep sense of loss by depriving the child of the
opportunity to maintain a full relationship with each parent."
"Questions and Answers about Equal Shared Parenting - Kids Need Both
Parents." Alliance for Non-Custodial Parents Rights.
"The Benefits of Equal Custody for the Child," by Christian Fardel
(submitted from France)
References to Divorce Research Literature:
Books on Cooperative Parenting for Divided Families:
CHILREN'S ADAPTATION TO CHANGE
(The topic of adaptation to change is very broad. Therefore, without
highlighting specific situations, it was hard to find any research
articles. However, the following two references might offer a start,
even though there are no research links attached)
"Tips Help Military Families Handle Stress," By Kathy Milligan. Family
Advocacy Outreach Manager. Air Education Training Command Public
"Children become more resilient and are able to endure stress when
they live in a supportive environment. Research shows that children
learn how to cope with stress and life changes when they are
emotionally nurtured and encouraged."
(This is NOT a research article)
The following article is excerpted from:
"Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5-12." Bantam 1999.
(While the article has no references to research, the book probably
"Pressure can take many forms that challenge children and to which
they must respond and, often, adapt. Whether these are events of
lasting consequence like the divorce of their parents, or merely a
minor hassle like losing their homework, these demands or stresses are
a part of children's daily existence."
"Children welcome some events and are able to adapt to them with
relative ease. They perceive other events as threats to their own or
the family's daily routines or general sense of well-being, and these
stresses are more troublesome. Most stress faced by children is in the
middle, neither welcomed nor seriously harmful, but rather a part of
accomplishing the tasks of childhood and learning about themselves."
"Children's temperaments vary and thus they are quite different in
their ability to cope with stress and daily hassles. Some are
easygoing by nature and adjust easily to events and new situations.
Others are thrown off balance by changes in their lives. All children
improve in their ability to handle stress if they previously have
succeeded in managing challenges and if they feel they have the
ability and the emotional support of family and friends. Children who
have a clear sense of personal competence, and who feel loved and
supported, generally do well."
I hope these references prove useful to your situation. The
research definitely backs up the benefits to the child of a more
equal custody arrangement between the mother and the father.
Please do not hesitate to ask for clarification if needed * before *
rating this answer. I will be happy to help if I can!
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