Summary finding: Children in joint custody arrangements fare significantly better on all adjustment measures than children who live in sole custody arrangements. The fact that joint custody couples also reported less current conflict is important because of perception that joint custody can be harmful by exposing children to ongoing parental conflict. In fact, it was the sole-custody parents who reported higher levels of current conflict.Research announced in the Journal of Family Psychology 2002; 16: 91-102.

The study was conducted by Robert Bauserman, for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The meta-analysis considered 33 studies between 1982 to 1999 that examined 1,846 sole-custody and 814 joint-custody arrangements.

Download Research