Honors College
 

Exploring Joint Custody: Interviews with College Students About Their Childhood Experiences

Marissa Zink, University of Maine

Abstract

This exploratory study provides a greater understanding of the impacts of joint custody on college students. Researchers in this field of study have yet to examine the experiences of children in joint custody arrangements in depth to this date. Interviews were conducted with ten college students who grew up in joint custody arrangements. The college men and women were asked to reflect back on their experiences of their joint custody arrangements. Findings provide a greater awareness of how college students describe their experiences growing up, including residing the majority of weekdays with their mothers and long weekends with their fathers. Parents’ homes also remained relatively close. The benefits of joint custody reported by participants included that they enjoyed having two homes and would not have wanted another custody arrangement.

Meanwhile, findings show college students’ challenges with joint custody included, packing/forgetting belongings as well as adjusting to their father’s new home(s). College students described their parent’s new relationships as impacting factors on their relationships with their parents, but they added time helped heal their connection. Suggestions and recommendations to children and parents with joint custody were given by participants, such as; for children to communicate with parents and for parents to keep the peace with each other. Suggestions and recommendations were also given to lawyers and judges involved in joint custody arrangements, which included that each parent should be given equal opportunity to obtain custody and/or residential custody. Ideas for future research are provided as well.