- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As someone who has researched, published and lectured on divorce, I believe divorce lawyers will say and recommend anything to get back to their $400-per-hour billing rates on a full schedule and with no substantive changes in family law (“Couples delay divorce, wait out recession,” Culture, Sunday). While the consequences of our current recession are very real, divorce lawyers are doing the nation a disservice by directing attention to the recession and away from the personal, social and economic consequences of family law.

The most current psychological research indicates that children of divorce want a meaningful post-divorce relationship with both parents. Most children of divorce want equally shared parenting or something very close to it. This often is contrary to the wishes of most mothers, divorce lawyers and family court judges and to what family law dictates - which is sole maternal physical custody, paternal visitation and paternally paid alimony and child support. Research also indicates that the child-support guidelines, as currently written, have the effect of impoverishing fathers and enhancing the financial status of mothers.

Given all the free time divorce lawyers have on their hands, I urge them to spend some of their time reforming family law to give children of divorce what they want: equal post-divorce shared parenting. In all likelihood, equitable family law also would make it easier for parents wanting a divorce to get it, even in financially difficult times.

GORDON E. FINLEY

Professor of psychology

Florida International University

Miami

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