RE: Divorce: shared custody should be mandatory

From: Lisa Dusseault (
Date: Thu Feb 22 2001 - 17:45:56 PST

> > - Grandparents, aunts/uncles, other relatives of the kid can cause
> > nastiness even if the parents are behaving
> Not much different from sole custody is it?

I tried to clarify this in my response to ThosStew, but it appears you both
misunderstood my original mail on this, so maybe it needs even more

When sole custody is really *sole* custody, then the parents don't have to
bicker, bad-mouth each other, or clarify their rules. Even if the sole
custodial parent has such poor judgement and impulse-control that they
bad-mouth the absentee parent, at least the kid has only one set of beliefs
to deal with. The kid can accept this until they're old enough to question
it, as they do with any other beliefs their parents hold.

The in-between situation is custody-with-visiting. This, I believe, is more
difficult than true sole-custody, if the parents are bickering. I'm willing
to be proven wrong, but not willing to be misunderstood :)

> It allows the children to continue to have two parents. The current
> situation encourages single-parent families in effect.

Exactly. And I was saying that, even though it ain't PC to say so, an
effectively single-parent family may be easier for the kid to grow up in
than a bickering divided double-family.

> Although the
> laws are far better than the appalling lack of legal support fathers
> received before 1989, mothers can still effectively cut off fathers.
> This is almost never in the interest of children and usually due to
> selfish or spiteful reasons.

Even if the mother is being spiteful and selfish, I'm not yet convinced that
forcing her to allow father visitation is better for the kid in 99% of
cases. What good can the father do in his limited time? Not much. What
evil? Lots.

Repeated caveat: I understand that forcing the custodial parent to allow
visitation is only protecting the right of the non-custoidal parent to see
their kids, whom they may help pay for. I'm trying not to think about that
so much as the custody of the kids. I understand that the courts do
actually need to think about the rights of all involved.

> That's the apparent theory of the current system; I disagree with it.
> I'll agree that there's a qualitative difference between sane, mature
> parents and the probable remaining majority. Tough, find a solution to
> that problem. Change the expectation. Teach them to get along and take
> care of the children.

Teach them to get along? Probably impossible. Glad you managed it

You do raise an interesting possibility, namely that through forcing the
custodial parent to allow visitation against their wishes initially, the
non-custodial parent may eventually be able to overcome that resistance and
be welcome as a visitor. Do you realistically think this happens in >1% of


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