2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
Joint custody is so popular in the courts that it is increasingly the new norm. Specialists agree: its success is linked to very specific basic conditions, of which agreement is the key.
According to figures from the Quebec Institute of Statistics, a Quebec mother obtains sole custody in approximately 60% of divorce cases and the father in 11% of cases. In 29% of cases, joint custody is chosen. It does not seem like much, yet the trend is there and the number of judgments in shared custody is constantly increasing. In Canada, only 12% of agreements are for joint custody. It must be said that in Quebec, with family mediation which leans more towards joint custody, the trend is stronger.
It is often the formula of the alternating week that is chosen, but dozens of arrangements are possible: 2 days at one, then 2 days at the other, Mondays-Tuesdays at moms, Wednesdays-Thursdays at dad's with each a weekend, four days a week with one parent and three days with the other, two weeks/two weeks, a month each, half a year with each parent or even a whole yearat each of them alternately!
In other cases - rather rare it must be said -, the children live in the same house and it is the parents who come to live with them in turn, or the parents live so close to the each other that both have daily contact with the children. This was the case of host Patricia Paquin and Mathieu Gratton who were neighbors so that their child could walk freely from one to the other.
However, joint custody is not easy. Especially when the conflict between the two parents is palpable. This is why several psychologists, who have been leaders in the philosophy of joint and shared custody, have changed their minds after the production of studies on the sequelae and harmful consequences in children who have experienced conflicting shared custody..
“I have long advocated for joint custody, but I am less and less convinced that it is the best thing for children. For psychologist Geneviève Richer, it is obvious that joint custody is not made to be applied systematically. “Judges are biased in favor of joint custody. Too much, in my opinion. In my consultations, I realize that children under 12 would benefit from spending more time with their mother and, in adolescence, spending more time with the father. »
Lawyer Lynne Kassie, of the Robinson, Sheppard, Shapiro firm, told the Journal du Barreau that the level of tension between the two parents isdecisive for the future. "It takes a lot of cooperation and trust on a day-to-day basis, but imposing such custody where parents have to agree on many everyday things when there is a flagrant lack of trust, it becomes too hard. Children will sometimes have to become spokespersons and even mediators, which should be avoided. »
- Fathers with joint custody often spend more time with their children than fathers with only occasional custody.
- The time and energy devoted to children is more equitable between the two parents.
- Parents with shared custody are often more satisfied than parents with other arrangements because of respite time.
- Children often benefit from the fact that each of the separated parents spends more time with them individually than before the separation.
- Both parents must have a good relationship despite their separation. Contacts are frequent, so there are plenty of opportunities for bickering.
- Both parents should stay close to each other, especially if the children are of school age.
- Regular changes of residence can upset children. They no longer have a home of their own, they live with daddy or mommy.
- Many children find it difficult to always be in the suitcases and feel a certain pressure not tonot forget items at one when he goes to the other parent.
- Children may have difficulty making connections since every other week they are away.
- Establish a clear schedule of custody days for each parent. Not only will it be easier for you to get organized, but kids find it reassuring to know where they will be and when.
- Encourage telephone or email contact for older children. The feeling of boredom will be reduced considerably if the child remains in contact with the other parent.
- Never use your children to deliver your messages. Give priority to emails, phone calls, messages on answering machines or even the road book that follows the children every week and in which we note all the little details that the other parent needs to know.
- For all the subjects that cannot be settled by small messages, set meetings – once a month or every 2 months for example – where you meet over a coffee to discuss what can be improved. By setting these meetings in time, everyone prepares and contributes to the improvement of the agreement.
- As much as possible, avoid involving children in your reciprocal animosities. When the conflict that divides his parents is obvious, the child may in turn experience conflicting loy alties and feel "torn", which can lead to emotional problems and behavioral problems.