by: Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
An Australian study found that children who spend equal time with both parents after a divorce or separation are doing well. While that is not surprising, the study also found that children who spent most time with their mothers were doing just as well. In other words, it wasn’t the form of the divorce that affected the results. Other important factors influenced the outcome.
“On the whole, the more contact a child has with both parents, the better for the child,” said Professor Ian Katz, the chief investigator of the team led by researchers from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
The study found that shared care is most likely to work when parents have no fears for their children’s safety or for their own. Many mothers appreciated the break that co-parenting provides. In addition, many children also said they liked the shared parenting format because they believe it’s more “fair.”
What creates problems that most affect children is when parents do not get along. According to Professor Katz, “If you impose shared care on situations where parents live far apart, where there is conflict, and the child doesn’t like it and wants stability, it can be damaging.”
The study, commissioned by the federal Attorney General, is based on the responses of 1028 parents and 136 children, as well as other data.
The key point to consider from this study is the finding that it was not the care arrangements that most affected a positive outcome for the children. Instead, it was the quality of the parents’ relationship, fair sharing of finances and whether the living arrangements had been imposed by a court that was most influential.
In analyzing the study, many professionals explained the relatively good well-being of children in shared care as a result of the strong characteristics of the parents who choose that path. That’s not surprising. Parents inclined toward a child-centered divorce will be much more likely to take their children’s emotional and psychological needs into the equation when making shared care decisions. They will be especially sensitive about not displaying conflict in front of their children.
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is the Voice of Child-Centered Divorce and author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce. She is the founder of International Child-Centered Divorce Month--January.
Rosalind sits on the Board of Directors for Toby Center for Family Transitions and Online Parenting Programs, Inc. She is an expert blogger for The Huffington Post, and featured blogger for Mamapecia and CBS New Eye on Parenting. Rosalind is a contributing expert for Kids Come First Coalition, Divorce360.com. She is a contributing writer for HopeAfterDivroce.org, FamilyShare.com, and Exceptional People Magazine. Rosalind sits on a panel of experts for www.NADWC.org. She has recieved awards for No. 1 Blog: Best Resources for Divorced Parents and Separated Families List, National Judge: Mom's Choice Awards, and was the 1st Place Award Winner of Victorious Woman of the Year! You can "Like" Rosalind's Child-Centered Divorce Network on facebook.