Saturday, November 24, 2012

Texting revolutionizes postdivorce family relationships

The NY Times Fashion section has an article about joint custody:
It’s not surprising that most people don’t see eye-to-eye with the person they left seething on a couples therapist’s sofa. If you didn’t get along with someone well enough to stay married, chances are you will probably disagree after you divorce.

“People don’t want to talk to their exes because just the sound of their voice is irritating,” said Randy Kessler, chair of the American Bar Association’s Family Law Section and a matrimonial lawyer in Atlanta. “But they can e-mail. They can share an online calendar. They can use any number of resources on the Internet. There are even divorce apps.”

E-mail and texting alone have practically revolutionized postdivorce family relationships. “E-mail absolutely takes away the in-your-face aggravation and emotional side of joint custody,” said Lubov Stark, a divorce lawyer on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. “You just write, ‘I want to pick up Kimmy at 5, but I’m running late and will be there at 6.’ It’s the best thing ever.” ...

“Everything on our calendar is jointly shared, so there’s no dispute,” Ms. Wu said. “For a while, I was doing all the entering of events, but I told him to put his share in, too, and now it’s all on there.”

Such arrangements are increasingly necessary. Unlike the “Kramer vs. Kramer” 1970s, when mothers won primary custody almost by default, today’s postdivorce “bi-nuclear family” setups are more egalitarian. Almost all states now offer some kind of joint custody. Joint legal custody, in which parents share or split decision-making, is almost the norm. And while laws vary widely by state, joint physical custody, where children divide their time between their father’s and mother’s homes, is increasingly common.

“In the ’80s, you used to see Dad on Sundays and get a Happy Meal and an ice cream cone,” said Leslie Barbara, a partner in the matrimonial and family law department at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron in Manhattan. “Now it’s all gender-neutral, and the parents each get spheres of influence. You put together what’s called an ‘access schedule,’ and ‘parenting coordinators’ help figure it all out.”
Yes, joint child custody is more common as all the evidence says that it works best. I haven't found that ‘parenting coordinators’ help any, but maybe others have different experiences.


Jacob Ian Stalk said...

Joint parent custody is laudable in principle but it can't happen without normalising the idea of short-term marriage contracts for the sake of the children. From there, the length of contract will then be negotiated depending on income or perhaps the rate or quality of return from the children. It may even come down to an annual subscription. From there, it's just a hop, skip and a jump to asexual reproduction. And then we're done.

Why not speed things up and go straight to mandatory adoption at birth, with nominations open to either parent on their merits, or both of them together, or others with better parenting credentials, or (now here's an idea) a parenting company, who invests in the growth and education of the child to gain a return on the products of their life? It'd be great...a sort of house.

Dammit, we tried that already.

George said...

You may be joking, but we are heading in that direction.