In the past, many divorcing families had similar child visitation schedules: moms would have physical custody of the kids during the week, while dads would pick up their kids every other weekend. However, a new study regarding divorce and child custody has found that more and more parents are choosing more individualized child visitation schedules for their families.
The study, which was conducted by researcher Bruce Smyth of the Australian National University’s College of Arts and Social Sciences, examined over 400 single parents registered with the Australian Child Support Agency. Smyth found that over time, parents have better balanced the responsibilities of raising children, and that there is a more equal distribution of involvement. Generally, the study found that there are more 50/50 parenting arrangements, though there are not significantly more transitions between homes during a normal fortnight.
The study was published in December’s issue of the Journal of Family Studies, which has a special focus on fathers this month.
Are these new findings about the diversity of child visitation arrangements good news? Researchers who worked on the study say that it is encouraging that parents aren’t choosing to move their kids between homes more than two to four times in any given two-week period–as transitions and drop-offs can be difficult for both children and parents. It is also encouraging that dads are getting more time with their children, and that families are finding physical custody plans that work best for them.
In the end, parents are finding more varied and creative ways to share their time equally with their children–and that’s a good thing.