Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

October 1997


Published in FAMILY AND CONCILIATION COURTS REVIEW, Vol. 35 NO. 4, October 1997 393-404.


This article summarizes the consensus among a group of experts from developmental and clinical psychology, sociology, social welfare, and law who sought to evaluate existing empirical evidence regarding the ways in which children are affected by divorce and the varying custody arrangements that follow it. Divorce and/or single parenthood tend to have adverse effects on children’s adjustment, with the magnitude of the effects varying depending on the psychological status of the two parents, the extent of conflict between them, and the financial circumstances, particularly after divorce. Children whose nonresidential parents continue to support them financially, those whose custodial parents are psychologically healthy, and those who have and maintain meaningful relationships with nonresidential parents tend to be affected less by the divorce, especially when there is no conflict between the parents. Interventions should thus be designed with these factors in mind.