The Results of 10 Years of Reseach on Shared Parenting
A Decade of Research on Shared Parenting
Divorce or separation can be a challenging and emotionally taxing experience, especially for children. While cutting off all ties with your former partner may be tempting, research has shown that shared parenting can be a viable post-divorce arrangement that promotes children’s well-being and development.
The ICSP’s Thoughts on Shared Parenting
The International Council on Shared Parenting (ICSP) is an organization that studies how parents can raise their kids together after a divorce. By analyzing evidence through research, the organization offers suggestions to help parents and courts make the right decisions about sharing parenting responsibilities.
Over the past decade, the ICSP has compiled an extensive database of cutting-edge analyses on the effects of children in shared parenting homes. The organization is committed to incorporating this scientific knowledge into the current legal system. One of the most noteworthy achievements has been the organization’s consensus statements that outlined the effects of shared parenting and children.
In 2014, the ICSP released its first consensus statement stating that shared parenting is a better arrangement after divorce. It is an option that optimizes child development and well-being. Along with that, the ICSP determined that when the child spent at least one-third of their time with each parent they experienced a better outcome. However, the children benefit more when the time is split more evenly between parents.
The ICSP also offered a second consensus statement containing seven conclusions. One of the recommendations stated that shared parenting arrangements should be the preferred option in post-divorce custody agreements. Once again, the group noted the benefits for children when their parents share the responsibilities of caring for them whether they live together or apart.
At the 2018 conference, the ICSP wanted to know whether the scientific evidence the group gathered was enough to support the conclusion that shared parenting was in the best interest of children and their families. The organization also wanted to know if shared parenting should be the focus of divorce and family law. Dr. Sanford Braver believed that “shared parenting now has enough evidence” to demonstrate the benefits of these agreements. In turn, the organization reinforced its belief that the legal system should choose this custody arrangement over other options.
At the group’s fourth conference, the counsel urged the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, professional associations, legal experts, and governments to recognize shared parenting as a child’s fundamental right.
Shared Parenting May Be Effective in Most Environments
The ICSP’s 2020 conference highlighted whether shared parenting could prevent family violence in the home. This conference focused on many issues, including the effects of shared parenting in contested child custody cases.
The conference’s conclusions suggested that there is a need for more theoretical development and additional research. The organization also stressed the importance of implementing changes in law reform and government policies.
Shared parenting was found to serve as a preventative measure against initial incidents of family violence. For that reason, the group reiterated that shared parenting should be the focus of law reform, especially in family law. However, ICSP concluded that shared parenting is unsuitable if there have been incidents of child abuse or family violence.
Today, the ICSP still believes that shared parenting remains the preferred post-divorce arrangement for meeting the psychological needs of children. Both parents can focus on the child’s development and well-being with shared parenting. The ICSP continues its research and dialogue between three distinct groups:
- Scientists in the family dynamics research field
- Family law and mental health practitioners
- Individuals who are actively involved in family law reform
Through its conferences and consensus statements from the past 10 years, the ICSP has gathered significant evidence to support the conclusion that a post-divorce arrangement is needed for a child’s emotional and physical well-being. However, the organization recognizes that shared parenting is inappropriate in situations of family violence and child abuse.
With that consensus from the ICSP, divorced or separated parents may want to prioritize co-parenting in their children’s lives.
Positive Co-parenting After Divorce
Co-parenting after a divorce can be an emotionally charged and challenging experience. It can be difficult to navigate a co-parenting relationship with an ex-spouse, especially if there is unresolved conflict or tension between the two parties. However, the most important part is the well-being of the children, according to the findings of the ICSP.
Putting children first is a fundamental principle of successful co-parenting. When both parents are committed to prioritizing their children’s needs and interests over their own, it is possible to create a stable and supportive environment for them. This requires a willingness to work together and set aside personal differences to focus on the best options for the children.
One of the most important things that co-parents can do is to develop a communication plan. A communication plan establishes a consistent and respectful process for communicating with each other, which can help co-parents stay on the same page and reduce misunderstandings. This plan is important when discussing important issues related to the children, such as:
- Health care
- Extracurricular activities
For shared parenting to be successful, it is important to keep communication civil and respectful, even when co-parents have a contentious relationship. This can be difficult, but reducing conflict and creating a more positive co-parenting relationship is essential. When co-parents can communicate respectfully, they are more likely to find common ground and work collaboratively to meet the children’s needs.
Many co-parents have found success with a parenting plan. This detailed plan can outline the arrangements for:
- Shared custody
- Important issues related to the children’s care
A parenting plan may help co-parents stay organized and minimize misunderstandings. However, co-parenting also requires flexibility. Both parents must be willing to adjust the parenting plan when necessary and work together to find solutions that benefit the children.
Respecting each other’s parenting style is also important. Each parent may have a different approach to parenting, and it is crucial to respect each other’s choices and work together to create a consistent parenting approach. This can help reduce confusion and provide a stable environment for the children.
Keeping children informed about changes in their living situation may also help reduce anxiety and provide a sense of stability. Children need to feel secure and know what is happening in their lives. Co-parents may consider keeping their children informed about the parenting plan and any changes in their living situation.
Finally, if co-parenting becomes too challenging or conflicts arise, seeking assistance from a therapist or mediator may be helpful. A trained professional, such as a divorce attorney, may help facilitate communication and provide guidance to help co-parents work through these conflicts and misunderstandings.
Reach Out to a New Jersey Divorce Attorney Today
Divorce can be challenging, especially when children are involved. If you’re considering ending your marriage and would like to understand your co-parenting options, reach out to the Law Office of Kelly Berton Rocco. Contact our Hackensack office at (201) 343-0078 or visit our website to schedule a consultation with a family law attorney.