SANFORD BRAVER and MOVEAWAYS
Sanford Braver is on the horns of a dilemma.
If the goal of this study is to steer public opinion away from custodial mother moveaways, he can't do it by comparing child-with-mom cases to child-with-dad cases because the children with mom do so much better than the children with dad. So, he compares all moves to all non-moves, lumping moms and dads together as "parents" to disguise the poor outcomes when the children are with dad. The comparisons between all moves to non-moves are problematic because the study has not addressed home conditions prior to the move, nor does it address conditions in the homes where the parents did not move. His conclusions are correlations that do not prove causation. He should have compared families prior to the move to families post move.
About Parents Contributing To College Tuition...
Braver's comments about college tuition were interesting in that one targeted audience in particular would probably not be too keen on hearing what he has to say. Fathers' rights advocates (especially second wives who have children with the noncustodial dad) have expressed outrage and fear over possibly being "forced" to pay for college. They see tuition as post-18 child support; i.e., having to support his ex for several more years. For years they have complained that married parents are not required to pay for their children's college educations, so why should divorced parents be forced to pay? Most divorced parents won't be "forced" to provide for their children's post-secondary educations, but that is another issue for another article. Braver's concerns about college tuition isn't likely to appeal to fathers' rights advocates. They will either keep quiet about it or pay it the barest of lip services to look good.
Garbage In, Garbage Out:
Braver Cited Bauserman's Shoddy Joint Custody Analysis
Braver's position was so weak that he sought to bolster it by tagging on Robert Bauserman's debunked joint custody meta-analysis and made-up father-involvement nonsense. He wrote that Bauserman "concluded that children in joint custody arrangements are better adjusted than those in sole maternal custody ... This suggests that future research should be aimed at determining whether parental relocation in sole maternal custody families contributes to children's greater maladjustment in those families.
Bauserman was in the same position then that Braver finds himself now. He badly wanted to support joint custody over sole (maternal) custody, yet he did not have the material to make that leap. The research he misrepresented did not support joint custody over sole custody. It did find that that joint custody exacerbates conflict. Bauserman did not mention that studies prior to the mid-1980s involved rare couples who tended to have higher incomes, higher education, who had only one child, not much interpersonal conflict, and they chose joint custody because they wanted to make it work. Those were not representative of most divorces, yet he cited them to support his contention that joint custody is far superior and preferable to sole custody. It is not possible for him to conclude his analysis in favor of joint custody due to the problems and lack of consistency of those studies.
I had written the following in my critique of this analysis:
Bauserman's analysis was shoddy in its own right. However, it does not help that he had co-authored the notorious Rind Study, which advocated calling it "adult-child sex" when when the adolescent was supposedly "willing" with "positive reactions" to the encounter. Why would Braver rely on the weak findings purportedly about child welfare from a "researcher" who was involved in something like that?
Braver cannot use Bauserman's weak analysis to prevent custodial mother relocations with the children. He also cannot use his own research findings to do the same thing. His own findings indicated that most difficulties were experienced by children who either remain with or move with their fathers. The most well-adjusted group was the children who remained with their mothers when dad moved away, even more so than the cases when neither parent moved.
Birds of a Feather: Braver Misrepresents Amato and Gilbreth ... And So Did Bauserman In His Joint Custody Analysis
Braver's misrepresentations of Amato and Gilbreth's findings about "authoritative parenting" as related to relocations were interesting in that Bauserman made similar misrepresentations of the same study in his support of joint custody. Both Braver and Bauserman ignored Amato's most important finding: the fathers' frequency of contact was the least significant predictor of child outcomes. That finding runs counter to Braver's claim that mom/child moveaways harm children because they interfere with dad's "parenting time." "Father absence" does not cause poor-child outcomes.
I had addressed "Authoritative Parenting" in my critique of Bauserman.
Braver's contention that "it appears that noncustodial father, at least in past decades, did not usually engage in authoritative parenting, because that kind of relationship is more difficult to maintain for a parent who does not live with the child" cannot be supported by citing Amato. Nor can he use Amato to support this statement: "the child's relocation to a considerable distance from the noncustodial parent may make such a relationship not merely more difficult but essentially impossible."
Here is why (quoting Amato from the same study):
Noncustodial dads are responsible for maintaining their own commitment to their parental roles. They must work on acquiring fathering skills themselves. He should not demand that mom to turn down a chance to improve her life by relocating solely so that he may maintain "frequent contact" with his children whenever and however he chooses. In fact, the moveaway case Schwartz v. Schwartz ruled that "'[the trial court] should not insist that the advantages of the move be sacrificed and the opportunity for a better and more comfortable lifestyle for the mother . . . and children be forfeited solely to maintain weekly visitation by the father . . . where reasonable alternative visitation is available[.]'"
Braver included an anecdote about a mother who wished to move with the children because she was jealous that dad had remarried.He insinuates that moms move for selfish reasons and are the direct cause of the breakdown between children and fathers. The anecdote does not match existing moveaway case law. When the mother's reason for the move is either vague or aimed at interfering with the noncustodial father's relationship with his children, courts tend to reject the mother's wishes. There should be a "good faith" reason for the move. So, mom moving out of jealousy is not nearly as likely to be a reason for her move with the children than a new job, a spouse's new job, a desire to be closer to her parents for support, or a remarriage. Such a move is even less likely to be approved by the court.
The studies Braver cites do not support his conclusions. They contradict them. His findings in many ways support mothers who choose to relocate with their children.
MORE RESEARCH AND ARTICLES
Dr. Judith Wallerstein's comments on Braver's findings.
Post-Divorce Move-aways. Braver's actual findings. By liz (The Liz Library).
Robert Bauserman on Joint v. Sole Custody, by Trish Wilson. Why is a co-author of the infamous Rind Stody -- which sought to label "willing" sexual relations between adolescents and adults "adult/child sex" -- so interested in joint custody?
Liz Critiques Robert Bauserman's Joint Custody Meta-Analysis. Rind Study co-author does another.
More on Joint Custody by Paul Amato. He does not support joint custody over sole custody.
Parental Dissatisfaction with Joint Custody. From "The Impact of the Custody Plan on the Family: A Five-Year Follow-Up".
The Truth About Joint Custody, by Trish Wilson -- Don't call it "Shared Parenting."
Joint Custody Is Not In The Best Interests Of Children, by Trish Wilson
Comments by Trish Wilson -- Testimony on SB 571 -- Rebuttable Presumption for Joint Legal Custody -- Family Law and Fathers' Rights Antics in Maryland.
Myths and Facts about "Fatherlessness," by Trish Wilson. "Fatherless" homes [read: single/divorced mother homes] do not cause poor-child outcomes.
Deconstructing the Essential Father, by Trish Wilson. A critique of the American Psychologist article. Addressing misrepresentations and propaganda about "responsible fatherhood" disseminated by David Blankenhorn, David Popenoe, and Wade Horn.
Friendly Parent Provisions, What's Wrong With Them, by Trish WilsonDebunking Claims About Joint vs. Sole Custody, liz.
Myths and Facts about Fatherhood: What the Research REALLY Says, liz.
Myths and Facts about Motherhood: What the Research REALLY Says, liz.
What the Experts Say: A Review of the Scholarly Research on Post-Divorce Parenting and Child Well-being.
Misplaced Blame and Simplistic Solutions: DC's Joint Custody Presumption, by Margaret Martin Barry -- Scholarly article by law professor discusses what's wrong with a statute providing for a presumption of joint custody
When Paradigms Collide: Protecting Battered Parents and Their Children in the Family Court System, by Clare Dalton, 37 Fam. & Conciliation Courts Rev. 273 (1999)
Attachment 101 for Attorneys: Implications for Infant Placement Decisions, by Eleanor Willemsen and Kristen Marcel
and Access: An NAWL Brief to the Special
Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access, March 1998 (Canada) and, new:
Custody: Implications for Women, by Renee Leff
Understanding the Batterer in Visitation and Custody Disputes, by R. Lundy Bancroft. Why abuse may be reported for the first time at the time of a separation or divorce; critique of Janet Johnston's categories of batterer; more.
Spousal Violence in Custody and Access Disputes, Recommendations for Reform, Nicholas M.C. Bala et al. -- Scholarly article by Status of Women Canada Policy Research Fund (1998)
The Abuse of Custody, an interview with attorney Ruth Lea Taylor
Custody Order or Disordered Custody? by Joan Braun -- Law student article with research cites published in BC Institute Against Family Violence Newsletter
The Psychological Effects of Relocation for Children of Divorce, by Marion Gindes, Ph.D., AAML Journal, Vol. 15 (1998), pp. 119
Carol S. Bruch, Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: GETTING IT WRONG IN CHILD CUSTODY CASES
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