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How Does the Public View Conflict in Custody Decisions?


How Does the Public View Conflict in Custody Decisions?


One of the main reasons that judges do not automatically award equal parenting in custody decisions is because of their concern about the conflict between the parents and the harm it will do to the children. In previous work, (see blog post on this work) researchers at Arizona State University found that the general public generally favors custody decisions that award both parents equal time in custody decisions, but many custody battles involve conflict between parents. When conflict persists among divorcing parents, most judges and custody evaluators have recommended against shared parenting in order to keep children out of the conflict.

In this study, Braver and his colleagues wanted to find out how the public thinks custody decisions should be handled in which there is conflict. (SeePsychology, Public Policy and Law, 2011). 
To examine these questions, the researchers developed hypothetical cases that described a low conflict scenario and two types of high conflict scenarios. In the low conflict case, the parents were described as reasonably good parents who are involved in the children's lives. There were two types of high conflict cases, one in which both parents were described as extremely angry at each other and fight in front of the children. In the second case only one parent was angry. Half the time this was presented as the father and half the time as the mother.


These cases were presented to citizens who had been summoned to serve on a jury panel in an Arizona community. About 250 people participated in this study. The participants were given the hypothetical cases, and then asked to imagine themselves as the judge deciding these cases based on the merits of the cases and what was best for the child. In each case they were asked how much time the child should spend with each parent.

In both the case of low conflict and high mutual conflict, the participants in this study favored awarding both parents equal time (about 65%). This finding indicates that almost two-thirds of the public still favors equal parenting time even in cases in which there is continued conflict. There was not complete consensus on this arrangement however. The remaining one-third of the participants were more likely to favor having the children live with the mother and reduce the amount of time that the dad got time with the children. This group of participants favored awarding more parenting time to the mother in conflicts in which both parents were described as angry and fighting.


When the cases were presented in which one parent was described as the cause of the conflict, then participants recommended that the parent causing the conflict should get less parenting time. The participants did not differ in their judgments about mothers and fathers. Regardless of whether it was the mother or the father was the source of the conflict, participants thought they should get less time with the child if they were angry, fighting and causing conflict.

These views of custody in high conflict divorces run counter to the views of most professionals. When families are embroiled in conflict during the divorce, they recommend that children be given primary custody with one parent. This is based on the evidence that conflict between parents is one of the most damaging factors in children's well-being during a family breakup. Professionals assume that the parents will not be able to resolve their conflicts resulting in the children being continually exposed to angry, bitter altercations. The findings in this study indicate that the general public does not hold this view. The researchers conclude, "Family lawmakers need to confront that equal custody enjoys genuinely great popularity among the citizenry."


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-hughes/how-does-the-public-view-_b_877174.html

I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Lay judgments about child custody after divorce.

 Braver, Sanford L.; Ellman, Ira Mark; Votruba, Ashley M.; Fabricius, William V.
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol 17(2), May 2011, 212-240. doi: 10.1037/a0023194

Abstract

In a pair of studies, we examine lay people's judgments about how hypothetical cases involving child custody after divorce should be resolved.

The respondents were citizens called to jury service in Pima County, AZ. Study 1 found that both male and female respondents, if they were the judge, would most commonly award equally shared custody arrangements, as advocated by most fathers' groups. 


However, if the predivorce child care had been divided disproportionately between the parents, this preference shifted, slightly but significantly, toward giving more time 
to the parent who had provided most of that care, consistent with the Approximation Rule advocated by the American Law Institute. 

Moreover, respondents judged that the arrangements prevailing in today's court and legal environment would award equal custody considerably less often, and would thereby provide much less parenting time to fathers, than the respondents themselves would award. 
Study 2 found that respondents maintained their strong preference for equally shared custody even when there are very high levels of parental conflict for which the parents were equally to blame, but awarded substantially less time to the culpable parent when only one was the primary instigator of the parental conflict. 

The striking degree to which the public favors equal custody combined with their view that the current court system under-awards parenting time to fathers could account for past findings that the system is seriously slanted toward mothers, and suggests that family law may have a public relations problem. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved) 
From the Huffington Post 



Mike Whitney

On this thanksgiving or any other day... No matter what is going on in your life and no matter how bad it is or how sad it makes you feel, No matter what you'refaith or beliefs are, No matter if you're all alone or if you're surrounded by a bunch of assholes, No matter how hard it may seem to you..
Please take the time to really think about some of the things you actually do have to be thankful for. No matter how insignificant you may think those things may be they're probably something that somebody somewhere dreams about having.
You may even realize that there's actually many things you have to be thankful for, so really think about it. Even if it means you only find one thing and you feel like you just don't care, as if all you have in life is barely even a small spark of hope. Well at at least you have that so don't take it for granted and minimize it. Instead you should try hard to focus and build on it.
Even if it means you feel you can't or won't help yourself it's still possible for you to help others in some way. You could give somebody or something else a bit of hope if only just for a moment. By doing this it means you do matter and in a round about way you will be actually helping yourself as well.
That's how this shit works. You're alive! so just try hard to think about what you do have to be thankful for no matter how insignificant you think it is. Some of us may think differently about it being insignificant and may be quite thankful for you being there making an effort.. I know I would be.
I tip my hat to those who find light in the darkest places and are willing to share it. Much Love & respect to all those who are willing to help themselves and help others.
"Happy" may be a word that seems very far off to many people and animals who are in a bad way, but remember that no matter what you've been through or what you think you know... the truth is that it's always very possible for you to still make a difference in some way. Help yourself by helping others in any way at all. Even if it goes unnoticed it still means something if you try and never give up.
The word "Happy" can actually sting to those who are truly hurting. So instead I'll wish a "Hopeful" Thanksgiving to all.. with no exceptions.
So for your sake and everyone else.. hang tough & start paying it forward.





A lie cannot live.

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We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

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The time is always right to do what is right.

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'

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