In the context of international trends in family law, it is intensely debated in Germany whether current regulations of parental physical custody after separation/divorce are still adequate. The discussion focuses on joint physical care or shared care arrangements where children are equally cared for by both parents and – different from single care arrangements – alternate between both homes. At the same time, the high demands for parents and particularly children who then have to change households regularly, are pointed out.
After outlining findings from other countries, this talk presents empirical data on shared care arrangements in Germany. Based on large, representative survey data it is shown, how the choice of shared care is linked to socioeconomic, familial, and personal resources. In particular we address the question, how care arrangements are linked to the quality of parent-child relationships and children’s well-being. Findings from the German family panel pairfam show that parents who practice shared care evidence more positive coparenting than parents in single care arrangements. However, differences in fathers’ parenting and children’s well-being are not found. Further analyses take a particular focus on children’s emotional (in)security in relation to both parents as related to their care arrangement. The final discussion addresses similarities and differences to international evidence
Walper, Sabine, Prof. Dr. phil., Research Director at the German Youth Institute Munich and Professor of Education (Focus: Family and Youth Research) at the Department of Education and Rehabilitation (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich). She is Member of the Scientific Board for Family Issues at the Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women, and Youth and Children’s Rights Committee of the German Family Court Council. As a family psychologist her research areas are Education and Poverty, Research on Families in Divorce and Stepfamilies. She is Co-Principle Investigator and director for the domains of partnership, parenting, and child development for the Project “Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (pairfam)”, funded by the German Research Foundation and with her team at the University of Munich and a counseling centre for relationship crisis, separation and divorce she developed the parents’ training ‘Looking Out for Our Kids. A Prevention Program for Separated Families’.