Joint custody, with both divorced parents sharing childrearing
functions, is a recent and controversial phenomenon. To the authors'
knowledge there have been no published quantitative outcome studies
establishing its efficacy. The authors present data on 414 consecutive
custody cases in a Los Angeles court over a 2-year period, comparing
relitigation rates (indicative of postdivorce parental conflict) of
exclusive and joint custody. In those cases which were returns to court,
the proportion of relitigation for joint custody families was one-half that
of exclusive custody families, suggesting that joint custody is a more
beneficial arrangement in terms of reduced parental conflict.