Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shared custody is becoming the norm in America

Date:
May 21, 2014
Source:
Springer
Summary:
It's no longer a certainty that American mothers will get custody over their children during a divorce. In fact, joint custody is becoming the norm, research shows. The analysis further shows that shared custody remains more likely for higher income families, while the gender and age of the children involved do not carry much weight.

It's no longer a certainty that American mothers will get custody over their children during a divorce. In fact, if Wisconsin Court Records of the past 20 years are anything to go by, joint custody is becoming the norm. So says Maria Cancian and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US, whose findings are published in Springer's journal Demography.

For most of the twentieth century, in both divorce and nonmarital cases, most children ended up living with their mothers after their parents' divorce. This conformed to gender norms that views mothers as better caretakers of especially young children. However, the guiding principle of the "best interest of the child" has since become standard in deciding on custody matters.

Since the turn of the millennium, the custody policy of some states has become gender-neutral and encourages the involvement of both parents.

In 1998, Cancian and her colleague Daniel Meyer published the first results showing a drop in the proportion of mothers granted sole custody, from 80 percent in 1986 to 74 percent in 1994. Shared custody cases rose from 7 percent to 14 percent. The analysis was based on all Wisconsin Court Records involving minor children in divorce cases between 1986 and 1994.

To extend this study further, Cancian and colleagues have now included relevant Wisconsin Court Records until 2008, comprising 9,873 divorce cases in total. It shows sustained changes in mother-sole custody cases over the past 20 years: down from 80 percent in 1986 to 42 percent in 2008. This decline is largely mirrored by a dramatic increase in shared custody. Equal shared custody, in which children spend an equal number of nights with both parents, increased from 5 percent to 27 percent, while unequal shared custody increased from 3 percent to 18 percent.

The researchers believe that a significant milestone has been reached in the last decade, with more divorce judgments being handed down without mother-sole custody than with it. In contrast, there has been little change in the share of father sole-custody cases: 11 percent in 1988 against 9 percent in 2008.

The analysis further shows that shared custody remains more likely for higher income families, while the gender and age of the children involved do not carry much weight.

The authors believe that custody patterns are changing because of transforming social norms and the new processes by which custody is determined. Their findings could have important implications for the structuring of social policy, such as tax and transfer programs in the US. "Overall, the trend away from mother-sole custody and toward shared custody is dramatic, representing a substantial change in the living situations of children of divorce over a relatively short period," says Cancian.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maria Cancian, Daniel R. Meyer, Patricia R. Brown, Steven T. Cook. Who Gets Custody Now? Dramatic Changes in Children’s Living Arrangements After Divorce. Demography, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s13524-014-0307-8

Cite This Page:

Springer. "Shared custody is becoming the norm in America." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521133710.htm>.
Springer. (2014, May 21). Shared custody is becoming the norm in America. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521133710.htm
Springer. "Shared custody is becoming the norm in America." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521133710.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus

Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus

AP (July 30, 2014) Scientists in Texas are studying the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 670 people across West Africa this year. Right now, the disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment, with a fatality rate of at least 60 percent. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins