Latest from Linda Nielsen: Parental Conflict, Coparenting, and Custody Arrangements

The following article addresses 4 questions:

First, how much weight should be given to parental conflict and the quality of the coparenting relationship in determining parenting time—specifically with respect to children’s living at least 35% time with each parent in joint physical custody?

Second, to what extent are low conflict and cooperative coparenting connected to better outcomes for children?

Third, to what degree are children’s outcomes linked to whether their parents take their custody disputes to court or have high legal conflict?

Fourth, is joint physical custody associated with worse outcomes than sole physical custody for children whose parents have a conflicted, uncooperative coparenting relationship?

Recent research does not support the idea that conflict—including high legal conflict—should rule out joint physical custody as the arrangement that best serves children’s interests. Parents with joint physical custody do not generally have significantly less conflict or more cooperative relationships than parents with sole physical custody. Conflict and poor coparenting are not linked to worse outcomes for children in joint physical custody than in sole physical custody. The quality of the parent– child relationship is a better predictor than conflict of children’s outcomes, with the exception of the most extreme forms of conflict to which some children are exposed. While continuing our efforts to improve parents’ relationships with one another, we should become more invested in helping both parents maintain and strengthen their relationships with their children.

Click link below:

Re-examining the Research on Parental Conflict, Coparenting, and Custody Arrangements
by Linda Nielsen, Wake Forest University (2017)

Excerpt:  In other words, the role of conflict has too often been exaggerated and should not be the determining factor in child custody decisions or in regard to JPC arrangements except in those situations where the children need protection from an abusive or negligent parent. While continuing our efforts to reduce parent conflict and to improve the coparenting relationship, we should be equally— or perhaps even more—invested in helping both parents strengthen their relationships with their children and improve their parenting skills.

More Research

International Conference on Shared Parenting 2017

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