REPORT ON LDRC
“Less parent conflict despite increased parental contact.”
Dare we say that this is a goal that any person of good will and common sense would support? All pros and no cons, right? But, what’s that got to do with the pretty bar graphs?
We had the great pleasure of attending Dr. Robert Emery’s return engagement with the AFCC Annual Symposium, in Waltham, on March 27, 2015. Dr. Emery -- psychologist, professor, author, mediator and divorced parent -- of the University of Virginia, spoke on “Parenting Plans and Shared Custody”, reviewing his research and that of other academic researchers.
To our delight, Dr. Emery led with data about the positive impacts of mediation on post separation/divorce parenting that he derived from his randomized 12-year longitudinal study of families who mediated with court custody disputes pleaded. His findings are remarkable, including that:
Twelve years later, parenting time contact between children and “non-residential” parent of at least 1 time per week occurred 3 times more frequently with mediated parenting plans than after custody litigation.
Twelve years later, telephone contact between children and “non-residential” parent of at least 1 time per week for occurred 5 times more frequently with mediated parenting plans than after custody litigation.
Twelve years later, the "non-residential" parent's participation in 10 ordinary and extraordinary activities of child rearing, from discipline to vacations, was consistently higher with mediated parenting plans than after custody litigation.
We are happy to say that few of our clients approach the point of any contested custody litigation, which all of Dr. Emery’s subjects did, making his data all the more remarkable. The “whys” are beyond today’s report, but Dr. Emery calls the link between mediation and good outcomes “cause” rather than mere “correlation”.
Who are we to argue?
Recently, we had shied from guest contributors in our newsletters, to focus more on the LDRC Blog, but sometimes we just have to make an exception. Psychologist Linda Smith, who used to work the G.A.L. circuit in Greater Boston before re-locating her family and practice to Connecticut, is a founding principal in a new web-based enterprise, Child Custody Analytics. It caught our eye while attending the annual meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in Chicago, last November, where CCA exhibited.
CCA is a digital portal that provides support to anyone involved in the field -- clinicians, lawyers, and mediators – with the latest research, original articles and parenting guideline materials at your fingertip. Dr. Smith and her fellow founder Dr. Eric Frazer have created the piece below for our readers as an introduction. Please read it and poke around their website. I know that Linda or Eric will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
We continue the work of the LDRC Blog, and the Massachusetts appellate courts have been keeping us very busy with a slew of alimony and other family law cases. Today, we feature the latest of 4 blogs on 3 cases that the Supreme Judicial Court issued on a single day in January. The cases are all controversial and interesting. Alimony is keeping everyone in the field on their toes.
We have also blogged recently about what we consider an oxymoron: mandatory mediation. The Massachusetts Appeals Court seems to agree.
As always, we invite you to read these selected pieces and any of the dozens of entries behind them, and as always, feel free to pick up the RSS feed to your inbox. Encourage your friends to do the same.
Let them Eat Cake
Our Quote of the Quarter comes from an April 2d interview on NPR’s Morning Edition, with an Indiana pastor who supported of the unamended "religious freedom" statute that the state legislature and governor had just disavowed, to the extent of its potentially discriminatory impact on LBGT persons. Defending the right of bakeries to refuse wedding cakes to same sex couples, the clergyman, not satisfied with religious freedom aspects of the 1st Amendment, opined that:
“Cake is speech.”
We hope not. And, if it is, whose speech is it anyway?
Bill and Chouteau