Shared Custody Arrangements:
Pilot Interviews With Parents
Respondents were asked to think about the formal terms of their divorce arrangements that related to the children, and to indicate whether they had found them to be satisfactory at the time. They were also asked to comment on what they liked or did not like about the divorce arrangements. Eighty percent of respondents said they had been satisfied with the arrangements as set out formally in their divorces. Six respondents said they had not been satisfied, and two declined to answer.
Reasons for satisfaction included:
- Everything is split 50/50, is equitable (4).
- Everything is put in writing/it is detailed (4).
- Parents drafted it/worked together (4).
- Fluid and flexible agreement (4).
- Agreement is in the best interests of the child (3).
- There were no power struggles/non-adversarial nature (2).
- It was well thought out by both parents (2).
- It is simple (2).
- It reflected the parents’ current custody arrangements.
- Don’t pay/collect child support.
- Gets the child half of the time.
- Gets to raise daughter.
- Parenting is shared.
- Shared custody is good in principle.
- It keeps both parents informed.
Reasons for dissatisfaction were:
- Just the fact of having shared custody (2).
- The agreement stated that the respondent had the children every second weekend, plus 2 additional days and that he pay child support. In reality he has them half of the time (180 days) and still pays child support.
- The agreement stipulated that respondent cannot move without permission from the court.
- While the respondent was awarded money, she never was fully apprised of her financial rights.
- Child support payments cause a great deal of trouble between parents.
- The custody arrangement is inflexible.
- The agreement has no teeth—one must go to court to make changes and this is expensive.
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