Parents don’t always agree on who took care of the kids

It’s often been hard for parents to decide how much time each one should spend with their children after divorce. The child custody battles can be long and difficult as this is addressed in court.

In an effort to make things go more smoothly, some experts decided that it could help to look at who spent more time with the kids initially, back when the parents were still married. They could look at common tasks, like reading bedtime stories to the children, getting them ready for school, making food for them, and things of this nature.

If there was a clear division of labor between the parents, then it would become obvious which parent should spend more time with the children after the divorce.

In theory, this sounded good, but it didn’t really work out. Experts thought that parents would provide hard facts that they both agreed on. Did Dad read a bedtime story to the kids every night? Did Mom get them ready for school? These seemed like easy questions that shouldn’t cause disputes, which was the grounds for the whole system.

However, parents almost never agreed on the numbers. A team looked at 94 cases and found that these disagreements were incredibly common. Parents would argue about who took on which tasks and how much time they took.

Parents would also fight about these things while the kids were around, which experts said had the opposite of the intended result. Instead of making life better for the children, it made things worse.

As you and your spouse—or your ex—work on a parenting plan, be sure you know what legal options you have in Maryland.

Source: SSRN, “Fighting Over Bedtime Stories: An Empirical Study of the Risks of Valuing Quantity Over Quality in Child Custody Decisions,” Mary Jean Dolan, Daniel J. Hynan, accessed Nov. 23, 2015