156 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 37: 1 2017]
Finally, the belief that joint custody would force parents to eventually co-parent and
effectively communicate has proved to be idealistic in most cases. Some families maintained
high conflict for years after the imposition of joint custody, until the non-custodial parent had no
contact with the child whatsoever.200 Thus, joint custody did not facilitate more effective
communication between the parties.201 In fact, almost three-fourths of parents in joint custody
arrangements expressed “almost never” engaging in co-parenting.202 The most successful joint
custody arrangements are voluntarily agreed upon by parents, who are committed to making the
arrangement work;203 it is likely that this cooperation and dedication is what has influenced the
Social Science findings that children in that situation fare better.204 However, the Courts and
many legislators are now imposing joint custody on parents who are unwilling to make joint
H. Social Science Research
Advocates of joint custody have consistently used data gathered from Social Science to
support claims that children in joint custody arrangements fare better than children situated in
sole custody arrangements. Such claims are stated as fact and advocate for a one-size-fits-all
approach; however, these studies oversimplify the solution to the complex, fact-sensitive
dilemma of determining the appropriate custodial arrangement for each child. To reach a valid
and sound conclusion, however, these findings should not be heavily relied upon until the studies
are clearer and specific factors of the studies are more specifically dissected.
200 Id. at 42.
201 See id.
202 Matthew Fynes-Clinton, Children Suffer When Law Splits Parenting Equally, COURIER MAIL (November 9,