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A Perspective on Shared Care from the US

Daniel R. Meyer: A Perspective on Shared Care
from the US. Esitys Lapsen kaksi kotia – vuoroasumisen ja sosiaaliturvan solmukohdat -seminaarissa 26.11.2020.

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A Perspective on Shared Care from the US

  1. 1. A Perspective on Shared Care from the US Daniel R. Meyer University of Wisconsin–Madison (USA)
  2. 2. Acknowledgements • Much of the research reported here was conducted as part of a research agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) • Any opinions are mine and not necessarily those of the funders of this research • Thanks to my collaborators on the US research I’m presenting: Maria Cancian, Marcy Carlson, Steve Cook, Md Moshi Ul Alam and to my collaborators on international research: Mia Hakovirta and Christine Skinner
  3. 3. Outline • Social & policy context • Prevalence, trends, and characteristics – Prevalence in Wisconsin, US, and 37 countries – Trends in Wisconsin, US – Characteristics in Wisconsin, US, 9 European countries • Policy and research issues
  4. 4. Social & policy context (1) • In the US, Children are less likely to live with both biological parents – Decreasing proportion born into marriage; high (but stable) divorce rates – Increasing proportion born into cohabiting unions where dissolution rates are high – Increasing proportion born to parents who don’t live together • Focus here on children of divorce, as limited research on living patterns after cohabitation dissolution and nearly all children born outside residential unions live with their mothers
  5. 5. Social & policy context (2) • Roles within married-couple families have changed – Married mothers of young children are more likely to be in the labor force – Married fathers’ time with children has increased • Social norms & policies governing custody have changed, from: – “Tender years” doctrine favoring mothers’ care, to – “Best interest of the child,” and formal visitation arrangements, to – Explicit preference for shared parenting 5
  6. 6. Social & policy context (3) • Shared custody policies enacted (Halla, 2013): – 1970s: 9 states – 1980s: 38 states – 1990s: 48 states • Wisconsin Statute: – “A child is entitled to periods of physical placement [custody] with both parents unless, after a hearing, the court finds that physical placement with a parent would endanger the child’s physical, mental or emotional health.” (767.24(4)(b)) – “The court may not prefer one potential custodian over the other on the basis of the sex or race of the custodian” (767.24(5))
  7. 7. Outline • Social & policy context • Prevalence, trends, and characteristics – Prevalence in Wisconsin, US, and 37 countries – Trends in Wisconsin, US – Characteristics in Wisconsin, US, 9 European countries • Policy and research issues
  8. 8. Wisconsin • Wisconsin Court Record Data • Information on couples • Sample: Divorce cases entering the WI courts in 21 counties, 14 cohorts from 1987-2011 (N=12,279) • 5 Custody types: – Shared: Equal (50%/50%) – Shared: Mother or father primary (each parent at least 25%; corresponds to current child support rules) – Mother sole (at least 75% of overnights with mother) – Father sole (at least 75% of overnights with father) – Split (some children with each parent) 8
  9. 9. 76 75 76 72 71 60 57 47 50 50 48 47 46 41 42 42 5 6 6 6 6 15 17 29 25 24 29 28 31 33 32 35 7 5 6 7 10 13 13 15 15 17 15 13 15 18 16 15 9 11 9 9 8 8 9 7 6 4 6 9 7 6 5 6 0 % 10 % 20 % 30 % 40 % 50 % 60 % 70 % 80 % 90 % 100 % Year Filed for Divorce² Figure 2:Trends in Physical Custody upon Divorce¹ Split Father-sole Unequal Equal Mother-sole ¹The number of cases in each cohort ranges from 672 to 889. ²For most year, the divorce filing date is within the 12 months prior to June 30 of the year shown.
  10. 10. US • Data: Current Population Survey – Child Support Supplement (CPS-CSS) • Information from custodial parent • Sample: Ever-“divorced” custodial parents; separations occurred any time prior to year of survey (8 survey years between 1994 & 2014) (N=23,125) • 2 Custody types: – Shared (court/judge gave you and the other parent joint physical custody) – Sole 10
  11. 11. Growth in Shared Custody: Wisconsin vs. Other States 11 0.12 0.15 0.17 0.21 0.23 0.24 0.28 0.17 0.24 0.27 0.3 0.32 0.44 0.45 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45 0.5 <1985 1985-1989 1990-1994 1995-1999 2000-2004 2005-2009 2010-2014 ProportionofSharedCustodyAwarded DivorceYears Rest of U.S. Wisconsin
  12. 12. 37 Countries (Steinbach et al.) • Data: Health Behavior in School-Aged Children • Adolescent reports • Sample: 11, 13 and 15-year olds not living with both parents, surveyed 2001-2010. (N=92,886) • 2 Custody types: – Symmetric (2 homes, stay in each half the time) – Other (2 homes, but don’t stay half the time, or 1 home) 12
  13. 13. Prevalence of symmetric joint physical custody in 37 countries from Steinbach, Augustijn & Corkadi (2020) 13 Sweden 21% Belgium 14% Iceland 12% Denmark 10% Canada 10% Finland 5% USA 5% Russia, Armenia, Romania <1%
  14. 14. 9 European countries (Zilincokova) • Data: Generations and Gender Survey • Parental reports (mothers and fathers differ) • Sample: divorces or cohabitation dissolutions in 9 countries that occurred prior to survey (surveys 2004-2013). (N=5153 mothers, 2677 fathers) • 3 Custody types: – Sole mother (children mainly stayed with mother) – Shared (children mainly stayed with both of us) – Sole father (children mainly stayed with father) 14
  15. 15. Prevalence of shared care* in 9 countries from Zilincikova (2020) • 28% Sweden • 12% Belgium • 9% France • 3% Bulgaria • 2% Romania • <2% Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Russia * Mothers’ reports 15
  16. 16. Characteristics associated with increased likelihood of shared care Wisconsin US 9 Countries* Education Higher education Higher education Family income Higher income Higher income Race Non-HispanicWhite # of children NS NS More children Sex of children NS (in recent years) NS NS Age of children Middle childhood NS Legal variables Both have lawyers or only father Year Recent Recent Recent Cohabitation NS 16 * Results from mothers. NS = Not statistically significant. Blank cells not tested.
  17. 17. Outline • Social & policy context • Prevalence, trends, and characteristics – Prevalence in Wisconsin, US, and 37 countries – Trends in Wisconsin, US – Characteristics in Wisconsin, US, 9 European countries • Policy and research issues
  18. 18. Policy issues (1) • Should shared care be prescribed, presumptive, advisory, or should we leave it to families? • What provisions/supports should we put in place when parents want to change the arrangement? • How much should be owed in child support when there is shared care? Nothing, nothing unless large discrepancy in income, or merely a reduced amount? – Should equal and unequal shared care be treated differently? 18
  19. 19. Policy issues (2) • How should shared care be treated in the benefits system? – US: only one parent can claim benefits that are limited to parents with children – US: no programs that vary with family size have adjustments for shared care; children generally only considered in one family 19
  20. 20. Research issues • What are the impacts on child and parental well-being? – How can we control for higher-income and more cooperative parents being more likely to have shared care? – Are impacts different for some types of families? – Are there ways to prevent or ameliorate common problems? • How often do parents not follow the plan? Does it matter? • US research has focused on divorce – How often is shared care the agreement of nonmarital couples? – Are the characteristics similar? The impacts? • Whose voices have not yet been heard? 20
  21. 21. Take Away • Shared custody increasingly common in Wisconsin, US, many countries in Europe • Initially primarily selected by those with higher incomes, now increasing among all income groups • Effects are difficult to determine • Policymakers have not yet incorporated consistent rules about who can claim children who live equally with both parents
  22. 22. Selected References • Talk primarily taken from: – Meyer, D.R., Cancian, M., & Cook, S.T. (2017). The growth in shared custody in the United States: Patterns and implications. Family Court Review 55(4):500- 12. – Meyer, D.R., Carlson, M.J., & Ul Alam, M.M. (2020). Increases in shared custody after divorce in the U.S. Manuscript. – Steinbach, A., Augustijn, L., & Corkadi, G. (2020). Joint physical custody and adolescents’ life satisfaction in 37 North American and European countries. Family Process – Zilincikova, Z. (2020). Children’s living arrangements after marital and cohabitation dissolution in Europe. Journal of Family Issues 22
  23. 23. Thank You! Questions can be sent to drmeyer1@wisc.edu 23

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