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Copyright (c) 2004 Sage Publications, Inc. 
Family Court Review

PARENTING PLANS AND VISITATION: Critical Aspects of Parenting Plans for Young Children Interjecting Data Into the Debate About Overnights

January, 2004

42 Fam. Ct. Rev. 39

Author

Marsha Kline Pruett, Rachel Ebling, and Glendessa Insabella

Excerpt

For all of our recent gains in understanding the impact of divorce on children and families, what we know about its effects on young children remains a tunnel with scant light at the end. It is generally accepted that divorce affects a substantial proportion of children. Nearly half of all children in this country spend an average of 5 years living in a single-parent home (Castro-Martin & Bumpass, 1989; Glick & Lin, 1986). The majority of single parents will remarry, with divorce rates even higher among remarriages. A less well-known fact is that the youngest children are among those most likely to experience the changes in family structure attendant to separation and divorce. More than half of the children who experience divorce do so by age 6, and 75% of these young children are younger than 3 years of age (Emery, 1988).

Divorce, therefore, is likely to produce ongoing disruption in the nurturing domain at precisely the time of development when the stabilizing aspects of children's cognitive, social, and emotional worlds are so crucial to their well-being (Kaplan & Pruett, 2000). Even in amicable divorces, reaching legal and financial settlements can take a substantial proportion of a young child's life; the younger the child, the more his or her life is subsumed by the divorce period. In less amicable circumstances, this process can occupy (and for parents, preoccupy) much of the young child's life. The challenges and risks facing young children and their parents are further magnified ...
 
 
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