Study finds more divorced couples entering into non-traditional parenting plans

A new study by Australian researchers has revealed changing trends regarding how divorced fathers are interacting with their children. Contrary to the once-standard method of allowing fathers visitation/custody every other weekend, more and more parents are now adopting more equitable arrangements that give fathers more time with their kids.

Specifically, the study authors found that current trends reveal more sharing of parental responsibilities than in the past, as well as a greater paternal presence. Furthermore, they found that the majority of parenting arrangements are now adopting week-by-week custody arrangements that minimize transitions and protect the best interests of the children.

“We are finding that separated parents are putting in place much more varied, creative and lateral arrangements to spend time with their children than was previously the case,” said one of the primary authors of the study.

The study authors stress that no matter what custody arrangements are made, the most important thing is coming up with a schedule that children can learn to rely on. Children benefit the most, they argue, when they know which parent they will be seeing on a given day and where they will be sleeping that night.

Still, the study authors also acknowledge that custody arrangements will have to account for the realities of life.

“[I]n the push and shove of modern family dynamics, especially post separation, competing interests mean difficult choices and trade-offs need to be made by parents in balancing the needs of their children, against their own needs and circumstances,” said the researcher.

The best custody arrangements, the study authors say, are ones in which parents can maintain some level of communication and amicability between one another, and some flexibility within the arrangements.

The results of the study will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Family Studies.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child custody, visitation or parenting plans, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Source:, “Diverse post-divorce parenting arrangements on the increase,” Pip Wilson, Nov. 26, 2012