Fathers and Families Featured in Newsweek

Fathers and Families was quoted extensively in a December 15 Newsweek article on custody. Read it at

The article, titled “Not Your Dad”s Divorce,’ explores the changes in custody that have occurred gradually over the past two decades. It recites some of the evidence that parenting time for non-custodial parents has been increasing. For instance, the percent of fathers who see their children at least once per week has almost doubled between 1976 and 2002. It quotes experts who believe there has been a cultural shift. For instance, Virginia researcher Robert Emery is quoted as saying, “. . . a father”s involvement with their children is seen as important and positive.’

The reporter, Susanna Schrobsdorff, has a shared parenting arrangement with her ex-husband. She acknowledges that the logistics are more difficult than the typical custody arrangement, but sees that her daughters want time with their father.

The article gives fairly extensive coverage to Ned Holstein and Fathers and Families. One quote: “Much of the research on the subject shows that a majority of kids who have grown up in joint physical custody arrangements report that they are satisfied with the way it worked, while kids who grew up in an ‘every other weekend arrangement” were more likely to be dissatisfied and want more contact with their fathers.’

Unfortunately, the article muddies the waters by mixing the child support issue with parenting time. Many states pro-rate the amount of child support by the amount of parenting time: the more parenting time for dad, the less child support. The article quotes Jocelyn Crowley, the obligatory feminist who says that linking the amount of child support to the amount of parenting time creates a “less than pure incentive for fathers to ask for more time with their children.’ Even if this were true, are mothers so pure they would never hold out for primary custody in order to get more child support? This feminist has the usual sexist formulation: mothers good, dads bad.

Here”s another reason Crowley”s preference for an all-or-nothing child support order doesn”t make sense: in her view, parents will fight for little slivers of custody because of the child support benefits that will follow, but they will not fight for sole custody to get the whole banana of child support. This makes as much sense as a bunch of chimpanzees banging on typewriters.

But overall, it is a good article and advances our cause.

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