Two aims guide this work: (a) describing child, maternal, and paternal characteristics of families with variant post-divorce physical custody arrangements, and (b) estimating associations of children’s post-divorce arrangements with child support and arrangement satisfaction, net of family characteristics. Each of these questions will be answered in Wisconsin and Finnish samples separately, and results will be compared.
Methods: The present study draws from surveys of divorced parents fielded in Wisconsin and Finland, which were designed to enable comparative analysis. Wisconsin participants were drawn from two cohorts of Wisconsin Court Record Data (WCRD) and administered the Wisconsin Parents Survey 7 -- 11 years following divorce. The final study sample consisted of 322 mothers with sole physical custody, 434 mothers with SP, and 434 fathers with SP at final judgment. Finnish participants were administered a survey in 2019, and they were classified as residential (90% of which were mothers) and non-residential (70% of which were fathers) parents. The final study sample consisted of about 557 resident parents with sole physical custody, 491 resident parents with SP, and 521 non-resident parents with SP.
Results: Preliminary US findings suggest 68.6% of mothers with sole placement, 58.0% of mothers with SP, and 56.7% of fathers with SP are satisfied with arrangements at the time of the interview. Finland findings suggest 84.0% of mothers with sole placement, 91.0% of mothers with SP, and 90.0% of fathers with SP are satisfied with arrangements at the time of the survey. Preliminary US results from logistic regression models show mothers with sole placement are significantly more satisfied with arrangements at the time of the divorce, the year prior to the interview, and at the time of the interview, and mothers with SP more commonly report receiving all child support than mothers with sole placements.
Conclusions and Implications: Findings will be discussed in the context of current dialogue on changing trends in post-divorce arrangements, and the need for social policy responses that attend to shifting family dynamics.