Children More Satisfied

Welsh-Osga (1981) compared young children in intact families with joint custody and single custody families.  Children from joint custody were found to be more satisfied with the time spent with both parents. Parents in joint custody were found to be more involved with their children (Joint custody parents found to be less overburdened by parenting responsibilities than sole custody parents.) Children from all four groups (intact families, sole maternal, sole paternal, joint custody) were found to be equally well adjusted by their various standardized measures.

Deborah Luepnitz (1982; 1986) studied single parent custody and joint custody. Most single parent children were dissatisfied with the amount of contact they had, whereas the children of joint custody arrangements seemed reasonably happy with their exposure to both their parents.  Other advantages noted were more reliance by the parents on each other for childcare and prevention of parent “burnout” via more time off from the duties of parenting.  The quality of the parent-child relationship was determined to be better for joint custody.  The non-custodial parent relationship is described as more like a visiting aunt or uncle-child relationship.

Children whose parents have joint custody appeared to have retained two “psychological” parents in their lives. Whereas half of the children in single parent custody never see the other parent at all, all of the joint custody children have regular contact with both parents.   


Welsh-Osga B (1981). The Effects of Custody Arrangements on Children of Divorce. Doctoral thesis University of South Dakota. UMI No. 82-6914. (Transcribed from

Luepnitz D. A (1982). Child Custody: A Study of Families after Divorce. Lexington Books: Lexington, Massachusetts

Luepnitz D. A (1986). A Comparison of Maternal, Paternal, and Joint Custody: Understanding the Varieties of Post-Divorce Family Life. Journal of Divorce 9(3): 1-12

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