Nielsen’s Research: Divorce & Shared Parenting

Nielsen’s research debunks many popular, but false and damaging, beliefs about fathers and fathering after parents separate.  As her research shows…

  • Children who live primarily with their mothers have worse emotional, physical, academic, and behavioral outcomes than children who live with their fathers 35%-50% time in a shared parenting custody arrangement.
  • Shared parenting children have better outcomes even when their parents do not have a cooperative, friendly relationship and even when one parent initially opposed the shared parenting custody plan.
  • Infants, toddlers and preschoolers have better outcomes when they live in a shared parenting family.
  • Infants and toddlers who spend frequent overnight time with their dads are not more irritable, more poorly behaved, or more insecurely attached to their mothers than those with little to no overnight fathering time.

Most recent articles*

  • Nielsen, L. Joint vs. sole physical custody: Children’s outcomes independent of parent-child relationship quality. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 2018, 59, 247-281.
  • Nielsen, L. Joint vs. sole physical custody: Outcomes for children in 60 studies independent of income and conflict. Journal of Child Custody, 2018,15, 35-54.
  • Nielsen, L. Woozles: Their impact on child custody. American Journal of Family Law, 2018, 32, 44-50.
  • Nielsen, L.  Re-examining the research on a parental conflict, co-parenting and custody arrangements. Psychology, Public Policy & Law, 2017, 23, 211-231.


Most widely cited articles

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

Nielsen describes how people are “woozled” (tricked, manipulated, misled) by research. She then explains how a popular Australian study was “woozled” worldwide,  leading the public and child custody decision-makers to believe that babies and toddlers who spent over night time in their father’s care had worse outcomes than children who spent little to no overnight time away from their mothers.

*Email Nielsen for copies of these articles