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children, such hurdles fathers face and distorted perceptions toward fathers – particularly unwed
fathers – must be significantly altered.
G. A Closer Look at Australia
The study conducted on Australia’s joint custody presumption, discussed above, suggests
that joint custody only provides a true solution for a select group of parents and children.
Understanding and considering the outcomes of this Australian study192 is imperative to
analyzing the effects of forced equal parenting. In Australia, the parents’ “decision” to proceed
with a joint custody arrangement was not a voluntary one, because it was expressly mandated in
their laws. In the U.S., parents are coerced into electing a joint custody arrangement; however, it
is more disguised and nuanced, because the forceful nature hides behind the best interest of the
child standard. The blanket statement that joint custody is better for children has been ingrained
in our beliefs – whether it be by Father’s Rights advocates, Social Science, or any other means.
The vast number of circumstances where children would fare better in a sole custody
arrangement rarely qualifies the overbroad allegation, which is usually stated as fact. However,
critically reviewing the consequences of expressly or impliedly forcing a consistent and heavily
involved relationship between parents can provide clarity: imposing joint custody on families
who are not ready for the arrangement or families who do not genuinely want it – whether it be a
parent or child who is unwilling – will lead to unfortunate results.
Because joint custody arrangements are quickly becoming the preferred allocation of
custody in our society193 and because general Social Science studies generally advocate for
192 Hughes, Jr., supra note 121.
193 See ABRAMS, supra note 9, at 744-45; Ashby Jones, Big Shift Pushed in Custody Disputes, WALL STREET. J.
(April 16, 2015), http://www.wsj.com/articles/big-shift-pushed-in-custody-disputes-1429204977.