158 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 37: 1 2017]
Similarly, the children with any access to both parents regardless of time-sharing could
potentially be determined as a joint custody arrangement in some of these studies.208 It is also
possible that the children used to study the sole-custody arrangements could have no relationship
with their non-custodial, biological parent whatsoever. Thus, it is uncertain as to whether
children who were in “sole custody” situations had any visitation with the non-custodial parent.
Having a parent who is altogether absent would skew the findings. It is also uncertain how much
exposure, if any, the child had with the non-custodial parent. For instance, if the children in sole
custody arrangements for the purpose of the study only had access to one parent nearly 100% of
the time, the child could have a very different experience than one who had a 70/30 arrangement.
Thus, the assertion that joint custody is best compared to sole custody may not necessarily be
true. Instead, it may be true that access to both parents – emotionally, financially, physically –
not necessarily equal custody or almost equal custody is best for children.209
Without clearly distinguishing which custodial arrangements are used in the study and
defining the labels used for the custodial arrangements, it is difficult to accurately deduce
whether the study appropriately applies to a particular family’s dynamic – or, more broadly,
whether children in joint custody arrangements truly fare better than those in sole custody
arrangements. Thus, before making sweeping statements claiming that children in one custodial
arrangement fare better than those in others, a deeper analysis must be conducted into the
particular custodial arrangements that are being considered and compared.
b. Arrangements in Agreements Differing from Arrangements in Practice
208 See id.