The general wisdom, and a great deal of research, has indicated that children and adolescents with divorced parents may be better adjusted when they are in either in Joint Legal Custody or Joint Physical Custody arrangements. Is this also true of their mothers and fathers? Psychologist Robert Bauserman analyzed research results about Parent Satisfaction, Adjustment and Conflict Post-Divorce.
The results should not be over simplified. Not surprisingly, it was found that there when there is joint custody, parents reported less conflict, more support and more positive feelings regarding the other parent. One obvious reason for that is that parents with lesser levels of conflict initially may be more likely to choose a joint custody arrangement.
The value of parents actively working on post-divorce co-operation and co-parenting cannot be overrated. Where there is joint custody, there is also less post judgment litigation of parenting issues.
More research is needed to determine whether the beneficial outcomes related to joint custody arrangements are the result of the characteristics of the parents who choose them. Experienced family law lawyers know that there are always cases where sole custody may be the best option.
For more information on parent satisfaction after divorce, and sole custody and joint custody outcomes after divorce, see: Robert Bauserman (2012), “A Meta-analysis of Parental Satisfaction, Adjustment, and Conflict in Joint Custody and Sole Custody Following Divorce, “ Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 53:6, 464-488.