My Research on Divorce and Fathers: “Equal parenting time is a public health issue.”

I recently came across a fascinating opinion by William Fabricius at Arizona State University.  His insights provide a valuable starting point for a much needed discussion in the courts, and in society, about the role a father can and should play in post separation families.

William Fabricius, associate professor at the ASU Department of Psychology, is a pioneer in research on divorced children and long-term health outcomes.

Arizona’s new child custody law went into effect five years ago, and the first evaluation will be published in the spring issue of the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage. Fabricius, associate professor of psychology, is the lead author on the paper.

The motivation behind Fabricius’ efforts to change Arizona’s child custody law happened in the mid-1990s when he gave a lecture to family court employees as part of a continuing education program. “I was asked to give a half hour talk on basic child development. I started my talk by saying that developmental psychologists had known since the early 1980s that infants become attached to their fathers as much as they do their mothers,” Fabricius said. “They stopped me in my tracks, and I could not get past that point.”

The fact that the people in charge of child custody decisions were unaware of established findings in developmental psychology inspired Fabricius. “We as scientists have so much knowledge, and we should go out and do basic training in the community,” he said.

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