A research conducted by the Arizona State University by means of polls and ballot initiatives has concluded that the public favors equal custody for children of divorced couples.
The study also shows that in a series of hypothetical cases where there were high levels of parental conflict, those surveyed strongly preferred dividing the child's time equally between mother and father.
According to the authors, equally shared custody arrangements are advocated by most fathers' groups also.
The participants in the study were asked to act like a judge in a series of hypothetical cases.
In one case vignette, the mother provided 75 pc of the couple's pre-divorce child care-giving duties.
In the second, the father provided 75 pc of the couple's pre-divorce child care-giving duties.
And, in the third, the parental couple was described as having divided the pre-divorce child care duties 50-50.
Researchers discovered that equal time with mother and father was the most preferred alternative of the respondents.
Only 28 pc thought the parents in a real case would be allocated equal living time, even when they had divided child-care duties equally before the separation or divorce.
The study will appear in the May 11 journal Psychology, Public Policy, and Law.