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Joint custody can be the wrong answer [Letter]

The op-ed "Joint custody should be the rule, not the exception" (Oct. 8) trots out the tried and true myths about joint custody and about court adjudications. The statistics on families with joint custody include the 95 percent of all divorcing parents who settle out of court. Unless author Ned Holstein is proposing to mandate joint custody against the will of both parents, that statistic will remain. Of the remaining 5-10 percent of cases that go to court, 75 percent have a history of domestic violence. Joint custody is totally inappropriate in such cases.

Finally, his rosy description of joint custody for kids does not in any way reflect children's own experiences. Let's ask some of those kids, after they are adults and independent, how much they loved having to move every 5-7 days, having two parents with different parenting regimes battle over them, etc., etc. Even where a history of domestic violence or child abuse may not be present, and even where parents both want joint custody, kids often suffer. It is no favor to children to make them split their lives in two. To suggest that with high conflict, there is no problem, is simply specious. All the credible research has concluded the opposite.

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Joan Meier, Washington

The writer is a professor of clinical law and legal director of the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project.

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