With the important exception of children who need protection from an abusive or negligent parent, “shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children,” said Linda Nielsen, a professor of adolescent and educational psychology at Wake Forest University.
It’s difficult to believe that, in 2017, this even is a question. But statistics show that mothers still are awarded full physical custody of children in more than 80 percent of court-ordered child custody cases.
One big reason for the inequity is a decadeslong belief by judges and others that conflict between divorcing parents (which is to be expected at this difficult passage) will cause too much stress for children. Those wary of establishing shared parenting argue that it places children in the middle of disagreements, pressures them into loyalty conflicts or forces them to side with one parent against the other.