In 2006, the Australian parliament introduced new family law legislation about substantively shared overnightparenting arrangements between divorced couples. Other countries and state legislatures are currently debatingthe merits of similar legislation.A largely unquestionable premise underpins this reform, namely that the majorityof children from separated families demonstrably benefit from the ongoing, warm and available involvementof both parents, in a climate of well-managed interparental conflict. The Australian legislation moves beyondencouragement of shared parenting in divorce cases with adequately functioning parents; it extends into grey areaswhich, to date, remain poorly serviced by credible research, including its application to children of all ages andto parents experiencing significant levels of ongoing conflict. Drawing on data from a longitudinal high-conflictdivorce sample, this article challenges three assumptions that underpin a legislative preference for sharedparenting, that shared parenting is viable and sustainable for divorced parents in conflict, that shared care enablesimproved cooperation between parents, and that as a result children will be less affected by their parents’ conflict.The article further explores the influence of the mediation process on the choice and durability of shared parentingarrangements.
Field of Research
170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology 1801 Law
Socio Economic Objective
920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified
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