as thos and lisa suggest, the "correct" custody solution doesn't exist; it
will be as individual as each family and almost entriely dependent upon the
age of the children. but rarely do shared custodies work because most
parents, though i'm sure everyone has anectdotal evidence to the contrary,
bicker on after the separation. the children, already sensitized to
pre-divorce contention, have no trouble picking up on even subsonic discord.
what should be mandatory: pre-divorce family counseling for a year. post
divorce "exit interviews" with the children, performed by licensed family
therepists, to be held a few times a year for a few years. (the logistics of
this seem impossible, and may well be.)
while no therapist will say so, i would be willing to bet (a lot of money)
that most would agree with lisa that a dominant single-parent family
situation is probably the most stable.
what hasn't been addressed here: after the divorce will likely come (a)
romantic involvement(s) for the custodial parent, and then all bets are off.
do you know what the incidence of sexual abuse by a step-parent is? most
foster kids are in foster care because of a step parent or parent's s.o.
sad, awful fact.
In a message dated 2/22/01 5:47:48 PM Eastern Standard Time, email@example.com
<< I was composing something along these lines, but since T expressed the
part of my mail I'll cut it out and proceed with the subsequent thoughts...
If judges forced joint-custody, I would suspect that many of those
situations would be simply awful for the kid. Even without the child being
abused by one or both parents, even without the child being used as a
weapon, it can be a difficult situation:
- Mom and Dad have to be _incredibly_ circumspect about asking or
commenting about each others new lives (loves) in order not to cause
conflict in the child
- Having two sets of friends, one in Dad's neighborhood and one in Mom's,
- Coordinating two sets of rules is difficult and things are bound to fall
through the cracks
- Grandparents, aunts/uncles, other relatives of the kid can cause
nastiness even if the parents are behaving
At least today, parents who think they can manage it can arrange joint
custody, whereas parents who don't trust each other can fight for (or
relinquish) sole custody. In situations where the parents don't want joint
custody; what is the system achieving by forcing it?
In many cases, though it ain't PC to say so, I wonder if kids wouldn't be
better off having one solid allegiance to one parent, and the other parent
being fairly completely absentee. Sure it's difficult for the kid to live
with the worry that the absentee parent "doesn't love me", but as I've
already pointed out, there are difficulties in any divorce situation.
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