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What Parenting Time Is Best For Children?

November 7, 2015

Parenting Time_Past_Present_FutureConventional wisdom about custody arrangements for children of divorce has long held that, because mothers are more historically associated with nurturing, the ratio of time for children to spend with mother and father should be in favor of the mother. Furthermore, conventional wisdom has informed court decisions to such a degree that it has become a virtual cultural certainty that fathers can be expected to have visitation time with their children specifically on Wednesday evenings. These practices have been informed by decades of research, relied upon—if no longer reliable—by courts.

Newest Research About Parenting Time

Newer research, based on recent decades’ cultural shifts in the direction of more equitable parental involvement and nurturing, is presenting serious challenges to that conventional wisdom. The newer research not only highlights shifts in patterns of parental involvement, but longitudinal studies of the attitudes of children of divorce toward their limited accessibility to both parents.

Children of divorce who are now in their twenties and thirties are indicating that they have maintained their opinions that they should have had more freedom of access to both parents following their parents’ divorces. The courts, however, are shifting their decisions slowly, if at all. They are, in effect, being held in place by two institutional forces that make strange bedfellows: the legal profession and feminism. Lawyers are incentivized to limit visitation because doing so more certainly guarantees their continued involvement in divorce cases, which increases revenue flow. Feminists have tended to see shared parenting agreements as diminishing the rights of women and lending greater support to the men’s rights movement, which they have loathed to do because of the perception that doing so reduces the gains that women have made in recent decades.

Looking Ahead

These societal shifts certainly have complex implications, and they must be given due consideration. But no societal shift can be justified without first addressing the ethical gap and philosophical incongruence of making the welfare of children primary, but prioritizing more narrow self-interest ahead of the welfare of children. Johnson Mediation of Chanhassen, Minnesota, understands these changing dynamics and will help divorcing couples work through the often painful realities of divorce and assist parents in finding the best possible solutions for their children.

When working through the complexities of divorce, it is important to reach conclusions based on an honest addressing of all attendant issues. Johnson Mediation is qualified to help divorcing couples reach a resolution based on an honest appraisal of all factors, and in such situations the welfare of any children involved is paramount. Give our team a call at (952) 401-7599 if you have questions or would like to discuss your specific set of circumstances.

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