The Prevalence of Joint Physical Custody Arrangements in Post-Separation Families in 38 Western Societies

Anja Steinbach , University of Duisburg-Essen
Lara Augustijn, University of Duisburg-Essen
Gerrit Corkadi, University of Duisburg-Essen

Joint physical custody (JPC), a parental care arrangement in which a child lives with each parent about equally after separation or divorce, is an increasingly common phenomenon in many countries. Although attention from social scientists is growing and the debates about the effects on children’s well-being are in part highly ideological, there are hardly any numbers on the prevalence of JPC. Using data from Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC), a representative cross-national survey of adolescents in 38 countries that was conducted in 2001, 2006, and 2010, we were able to calculate the share of JPC arrangements for countries where numbers are not yet known. In addition, we were able to capture the complexity of family constellations by considering step- and sibling relations. The results provided support for the hypothesis that the significance of JPC, as well as family complexity and diversity, is growing in many Western societies.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions