Nice Graphic about Marriage & Divorce Statistics in US

GoFigure breaks down who's staying together and who's breaking up.


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National Council on Family Relations– Divorce Presentations, Nov 19-22

The following presentations will be given at the annual meetings of the National Council on Family Relations, being next week, Nov 19-22.  Will link to copies of the papers and posters as they become available.

Wednesday, Nov 19

Fatherhood in Changing Times (Live Stream)

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., lightning paper session

  • Father Involvement, Co-Parenting, and Adolescent Mothers’ Maternal Identity

Poster Session 4 – coparenting, divorce, stepfamilies

6:15-7 p.m., poster session

  • Parenting Together: Co-parenting Education for Never Married Parents
  • Coparental Cooperation and Conflict Following Divorce
  • Residential Mobility After Divorce: Implications for Divorce Education
  • Maintaining Relationships with Former Stepgrandchildren Following Remarriage Dissolution
  • Children’s Depression Change Over Time During the Process of Parents’ Divorce
  • The Stress Process of Divorce for Fathers
  • Multi-Systemic Constraints to Help Seeking Prior to Finalizing a Divorce
  • Family Relationships and Depression Among African American Stepfathers

Thursday, Nov 20

Sexual Coercion, Sexual Abuse, and Relational Violence

10-11:15 a.m., paper session

  • Violence, Coercive Control and Help-Seeking Among Divorcing Mothers
  • A Grounded Theory Analysis of Mothers’ Experiences of Nonviolent Coercive Control in Marriage and After Separation

Relationships After Remarriage

1:15-2:30 p.m., paper session

  • Marriage Order and Relationship Stability: A Propensity Score Analysis
  • Marital Happiness and Dyadic Interaction Patterns in Remarriage
  • Parental Role Negotiation Among Couples in Stepfather Families
  • Stepgrandparents’ Relationships with Stepgrandchildren

Friday, Nov 21


8:30-9:45 a.m., paper session

  • Prenatal Volatility in Daily Couple Closeness Predicts Postnatal Coparenting
  • Associations Between Coparenting and Infant-Parent Attachment Concordance
  • Coparenting Perceptions Across the Transition to Second-time Parenthood
  • Violence, Boundary Ambiguity, & Coparenting Quality Among Divorcing Mothers

Family Therapy Roundtable Symposium

2:45-4 p.m., roundtable symposium

  • Coparenting through Divorce: Key Factors and Best Practices for Creating Change

Saturday, Nov 22

Examining the Impact and Process of Union Dissolution (Live Stream)

8:30-9:45 a.m., paper session

  • Is Union Dissolution Always Harmful? Child Outcomes in Fragile Families
  • When are Union Transitions Bad for Children? Variation by Fathers’ and Mothers’ Characteristics
  • Do Attitudes About Cohabitation Mediate the Effects of Parental Cohabitation and Remarriage Happiness on Emerging Adults’ Risk Attitudes About Sex?
  • Divorced Yet Still Together: Ongoing Personal Relationship Among Divorced Co-parents

Relationship Development Across Time

8:30-9:45 a.m., paper session

  • Patterns of Stability and Marital Satisfaction in Newlywed Couples
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Shared Parenting Guidelines: Consensus or Not?

There has been considerable debate among scientists about the best practice and policy regarding guidelines for shared parenting.  During the past few years there have been several reviews of the research evidence regarding shared parenting following divorce and the recommendations don’t always agree.  There are two new reports each with an array of scientists and practitioners.

So here is one interesting note.  Only Richard Warshak is on both lists.

One of these reports, authored by Richard Warshak, titled, “Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children:  A Consensus Report” includes the endorsement of 110 scientists and practitioners.  In the introduction he writes,

“One hundred and ten researchers and practitioners have read, provided comments, and offered revisions to this article.  They endorse the article’s conclusions and recommendations, although they may not agree with every detail of the literature review” (Warshak, 2014, p. 46).

This is an impressive list of many of the major scientists who study divorce issues.  This list includes 79 professionals who list universities or research centers as their primary affiliation and 31 professional in clinical practice.  So what about the people who are not on the list:  There are a number of prominent scientists who are not on the list.  Were they contacted?  Did they refuse because they disagreed with the recommendations or were too busy to respond?  Perhaps they just didn’t like the whole idea of “endorsing” these conclusions.  Nevertheless, none of the other participants who compiled the following report and whose names are listed below are on Warshak’s “consensus” article, why not?  At least one answer is that there is not quite the consensus that Warshak presents.

The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts convened a task force to explore research regarding shared parenting.  In contrast to Warshak’s “consensus” view, the task force report provides various points of view, the disagreements and the research questions that need more study.  (This is the original unpublished Task Force Report.)  The most recent version of the report was made public in Family Court Review, April 2014. The editors write, 

“The Think Tank Report describes a series of research-based key points on which the multidisciplinary think tank participants agreed. Nonetheless, that agreement did not extend to how the consensus should be enacted into legislative or judicial policy to resolve contested parenting disputes” (Emery & Schepard, 2014).

Both of these reports are important to read and to study.  Perhaps the most important part of the Task Force report is the list of questions that still need more study.  There is still much to understand in order to provide guidance to practitioners and policymakers.

So here is the list of the AFCC Task Force Members:


  • Arnold Shienvold, Ph.D. (Co-Chair),
  • Peter Salem, M.A. (Co-Chair),
  • Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L. (Co-Reporter),
  • J. Herbie DiFonzo, J.D., Ph.D. (Co-Reporter),
  • Bernie Mayer, Ph.D. (Facilitator),
  • Loretta M. Frederick, J.D. (Steering Committee),
  • Hon. Ramona Gonzales (Steering Committee),
  • Stacey Platt, J.D. (Steering Committee), and
  • Kyle D. Pruett, M.D. (Steering Committee).


  • Nicholas Bala, J.D.,
  • Lawrence Jay Braunstein, J.D.,
  • Margaret F. Brinig, J.D.,
  • Bud Dale, J.D., Ph.D.,
  • Robin Deutsch, Ph.D.,
  • Hon. Grace G. Dickler,
  • Leslie Drozd, Ph.D.,
  • Robert Emery, Ph.D.,
  • William V. Fabricius, Ph.D.,
  • Hon. William Fee,
  • Jonathan Gould, Ph.D.,
  • Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed.,
  • Hon. Dianna Gould-Saltman,
  • Grace M. Hawkins, LCSW,
  • Leslye Hunter, LMFT,
  • Janet R. Johnston, Ph.D.,
  • Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D.,
  • Jennifer McIntosh, Ph.D.,
  • Anne Menard,
  • Irwin Sandler, Ph.D.,
  • Andrew Schepard, J.D.,
  • Richard A. Warshak, Ph.D., and
  • Justice R. James Williams.

Invited but unable to attend:

  • Chief Justice Diana Bryant (Family Court, Australia),
  • Jean Clinton, M.D.,
  • Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis (Colo. Sup. Ct., ret.),
  • Michael Lamb, Ph.D.,
  • Robert Marvin, Ph.D., and
  • Leslie Ellen Shear, J.D.
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New Issue of Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, April 2014

Allen, H. (2014). Unpacking court divorce decrees, Children’s outcomes, and three unconfounded determinants: An evidence-based look. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(3), 179-205. doi:

Gatins, D., Kinlaw, C. R., & Dunlap, L. L. (2014). Impact of postdivorce sibling structure on adolescent adjustment to divorce. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(3), 239-251. doi:

Menasco, M. A., & Blair, S. L. (2014). Adolescent substance use and marital status in adulthood. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(3), 216-238. doi:

Siordia, C. (2014). Married once, twice, and three or more times: Data from the American community survey. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(3), 206-215. doi:


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Can you reach teens about coping with divorce via social media?

Jeremy Kanter has begun to experiment with the use of social media, BuzzFeed, to reach teens about dealing with divorce.  This work combines humor, video and science  and other useful resources.  This is his BuzzFeed post:  10 Ways to Decrease Your Stress about your Parent’s Divorce.   


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Shared Parenting: A Debate Among Experts

There is an extensive debate about the “right” custody policies and practices in courts and the research evidence for and against various shared parenting plans.  Much of the focus of the dispute is in regards to the evidence regarding overnight stays for young children in non-custodial parent homes.   Articles by Nielsen and Warshak make make strong critiques of the work by McIntosh that has highlighted possible negative outcomes for young children in these arrangements.  McIntosh and colleagues also present their own analysis of the evidence.  In their editorial statement for Family Court Review, Emery and Schepard note that there is not yet a consensus on all policy matters, but there are some areas of agreement.

See these articles for a deeper analysis of these issues.  

Braver, S. L. (2014). The costs and pitfalls of individualizing decisions and incentivizing conflict: A comment on AFCC’s think tank report on shared parenting. Family Court Review, 52(2), 175-180. doi:

Brinig, M. F., Frederick, L. M., & Drozd, L. M. (2014). Perspectives on joint custody presumptions as applied to domestic violence cases. Family Court Review, 52(2), 271-281. doi:

DiFonzo, J. H. (2014). From the rule of one to shared parenting: Custody presumptions in law and policy. Family Court Review, 52(2), 213-239. doi:

Emery, R. E., & Schepard, A. (2014). April 2014. Family Court Review, 52(2), 143-144. doi:

Jaffe, P. (2014). A presumption against shared parenting for family court litigants. Family Court Review, 52(2), 187-192. doi:

Lamb, M. E. (2014). Dangers associated with the avoidance of evidence-based practice. Family Court Review, 52(2), 193-197. doi:

McIntosh, J. E., Pruett, M. K., & Kelly, J. B. (2014). Parental separation and overnight care of young children, part II: Putting theory into practice. Family Court Review, 52(2), 256-262. doi:

Miller, S. (2014). Judicial discretion and the voice of the child in resolving custody disputes: Comments on the think tank report. Family Court Review, 52(2), 198-199. doi:

Nielsen, L. (2013). Shared residential custody: Review of the research (part I of II). American Journal of Family Law, 27(1), 61-71. 

Nielsen, L. (2013). Shared residential custody: Review of the research (part II of II). American Journal of Family Law, 27(2), 123-137. 

Nielsen, L. (2014). Woozles: Their role in custody law reform, parenting plans, and family court. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 20(2), 164-180. doi:

Pruett, M. K., & DiFonzo, J. H. (2014). Advancing the shared parenting debate, one step at a time: Responses to the commentaries. Family Court Review, 52(2), 207-212. doi:

Pruett, M. K., & DiFonzo, J. H. (2014). Closing the gap: Research, policy, practice, and shared parenting. Family Court Review, 52(2), 152-174. doi:

Pruett, M. K., McIntosh, J. E., & Kelly, J. B. (2014). Parental separation and overnight care of young children, part I: Consensus through theoretical and empirical integration. Family Court Review, 52(2), 240-255. doi:

Salem, P., & Shienvold, A. T. (2014). Closing the gap without getting to yes: Staying with the shared parenting debate. Family Court Review, 52(2), 145-151. doi:

Scott, E. S. (2014). Planning for children and resolving custodial disputes: A comment on the think tank report. Family Court Review, 52(2), 200-206. doi:

Ver Steegh, N., & Gould-Saltman, H. D. (2014). Joint legal custody presumptions: A troubling legal shortcut. Family Court Review, 52(2), 263-270. doi:

Warshak, R. A. (2014). Social science and parenting plans for young children: A consensus report. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 20(1), 46-67. doi:

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New Stepfamily Research Findings.

Heintz-Martin, V., Le Bourdais, C., & Hamplova, D. (2014). Childbearing among canadian stepfamilies  . Canadian Studies in Population, 41(1-2), 61-77. doi:

King, V., Thorsen, M. L., & Amato, P. R.Factors associated with positive relationships between stepfathers and adolescent stepchildren. Social Science Research, (0) doi:

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