Shared Parenting Time

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June 2, 2014

A “shared parenting time schedule” is typically considered to be a schedule in which there is a parenting time ratio anywhere between 35/65 and 50/50. Currently parents and their children all over Oregon are operating under some form of shared parenting time. Over the past decade, these schedules have become increasingly popular.

Along with this increasing popularity has come a growing body of scientific evidence and research which the Oregon Courts, legislative bodies, and advisory committees have analyzed. By and large, those findings have been mixed. The research shows that sometimes shared parenting time schedules work and sometimes they do not. Their likely success has been found to vary depending on these factors:

  • Low conflict between parents;
  • Good communication skills between parents;
  • History of significant involvement of both parents and the child;
  • Voluntary agreement to shared parenting time by both parents;
  • Age and maturity of child (older more maturechildren on average are empirically more successful in shared parenting time situations);
  • Close geographic proximity between parents;
  • Parents committed to removing child from their interpersonal conflict.

Factors unfavorable to shared parenting time are the opposite; for example, high conflict between parents, poor communication, parental disagreement to shared parenting time, very young children, children with psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues predating their parent’s separation, and parents with a history of involving their children in their interpersonal conflict.

When shared parenting time works, it really works and can be considerably more favorable than other alternatives. Nationally, shared parenting time schedules in favorable circumstances remain intact four years after their enactment up to 90% of the time; these results are two and half times more stable than their counterpart plans. On the flip side of the coin, research has also shown shared parenting time schedules under unfavorable conditions can exacerbate conflict and permanently damage relationships.

The moral of the story is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. All parenting time schedules need to be carefully crafted taking into account all the relevant family dynamics and what’s best in the big picture.