Re: Divorce: shared custody should be mandatory

From: Stephen D. Williams (
Date: Thu Feb 22 2001 - 15:36:36 PST wrote:
> 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.

So what? The state now chooses the mother reguardless of merit (almost
all the time) and the child loses. Of course they bicker on after the
separation, especially until the details are settled. My ex was a
nightmare until there was no way she could screw up my life (she has a
problem with power; always wanted one more concession). Even if they
can't get along perfectly, they can still both provide full attention to
their child(ren).

> 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.)

I disagree. Although they should choose to have counseling, if they
decide it's not going to work, they're probably right. The point is
that the presumption is that they will make it work for the children.

> 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.

Stable == best for children? Of course there are more variables, but
this provides more opportunities to learn, grow, relate, etc. This is
what children need. I think it will provide more stable children, not
necessarily stable living while growing up. I would even argue (in
another thread) that too many kids have lives that are too stable: they
don't venture outside their neighborhood or city or the interests of
their friends.

> 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.

This can be managed. Of course it will be a disruption for the
children, but it can be a very healthy learning experience if handled

I had a very surprising experience with my daughter when she was 5 and
she saw me kiss my girlfriend the first time: she immediately starting
bawling and saying that I hated her. I was astounded but realized that
she sort of viewed herself as something like my girlfriend. I had to
explain a bit about life and relationships and she was ok. I've heard
that that kind of reaction is not unusual.

> 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.

And you don't think that constant involvement of the other parent would
help prevent this? I fail to see the logic.

An interesting finding I learned long ago is that parents (i.e. fathers)
that participate in changing diapers regularly and other key child
rearing activities are almost never involved in sexual abuse later. I
always assumed it had something to do with fully activating the parent


> gg
> In a message dated 2/22/01 5:47:48 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> writes:
> << I was composing something along these lines, but since T expressed the
> first
> 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,
> is difficult
> - 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.
> lisa >>

Stephen D. Williams         Insta, Inc./Jabber.Com, Inc./CCI
43392 Wayside Cir,Ashburn,VA 20147-4622 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 

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