"Given the growing popularity of shared residential parenting, policymakers and professionals who work in family court, as well as parents, should find the research compelling. As demonstrated in this review, overall these studies have reached four general conclusions. First and foremost, most of these children fare as well or better than those in maternal residence—especially in terms of the quality and endurance of their relationships with their fathers. Second, parents do not have to be exceptionally cooperative, without conflict, wealthy, and well educated, or mutually enthusiastic about sharing the residential parenting for the children to benefit. Third, young adults who have lived in these families say this arrangement was in their best interest—in contrast to those who lived with their mothers after their parents’ divorce. And fourth, our country, like most other industrialized countries, is undergoing a shift in custody laws, public opinion, and parents’ decisions—a shift toward more shared residential parenting. With the research serving to inform us, we can work together more effectively and more knowledgeably to enhance the well-being of children whose parents are no longer living together."
Other very important statment of her is this one:
"LN Your experience gets exactly to the root of the problem. This is what I’ve been harping at for 20 years, to the point that I feel I’m just a voice in the wilderness. First of all, do you realize how rare incest is between a biological father and daughter? It is extremely rare. To psychologists and sociologists, the term incest covers sexual abuse by cousins, uncles, stepfathers, stepbrothers, brothers, half-brothers, men who live with your mother who are not related—that all goes into the category of incest. But when you look into the statistics about girls who were sexually abused by their biological fathers, it is a very small percentage. What it tells me, just as it told you, is that researchers have the wrong focus when it comes to studying father-daughter relationships."
Linda Nielsen (2011). Shared Parenting After Divorce: A Review of Shared Residential Parenting Research. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 52:586–609
This work should be brought to the attention of the U.K government (see below extracts).
Dr. Nielsen’s background as a social researcher and Professor of adolescent psychology and women’s studies make hers a compelling voice that cannot be ignored in the growing community debate over the need for Shared Parenting and the importance of fathers in child rearing.
Linda Nielson on fathers and daughters
"I’m a feminist, but I’ll just say this flat out—I think we feminists are some of the worst when it comes to negativity. We start out with negative preconceptions about men as parents."
"What my research is trying to get across to people, is that we perpetuate such unfounded stereotypes of fathers when it comes to their importance to their daughters, and this influences the relationship."
Review--The Jennifer  McIntosh Australian Study (McIntosh et al., 2010)
"...the Australian research by McIntosh and her colleagues (2010) is often cited to support the claim that shared parenting is harmful for most children. An ABC News story about McIntosh’s research begins with the sobering headline: “Shared parenting hurting children” (Fullerton, 2009). Likewise, an article claiming to be a “review of recent research on shared parenting” published in a British law school journal was based on only two studies of shared parenting families—one of which is McIntosh’s study (Trinder, 2010). The problem is that the McIntosh et al. studies come from a small, nonrandom sample of 69 shared parenting families, most of whom were in the high-conflict groups....The researchers themselves concluded that the young children’s higher anxiety scores were more closely correlated with the father’s low education, the parents’ high conflict, and the mother’s poor parenting skills than with the shared residential parenting (McIntosh et al., 2010)."
Review--The Australian Institute of Family Studies Research (Kaspiew et al., 2009)
"Because Australia revised its custody laws in 2006 in ways that were more favorable to shared physical custody, this research has attracted considerable attention. Leaving aside the work of McIntosh et al. (2010) with high-conflict couples for reasons already mentioned, so far there is only one large study with a nationally random sample that directly measured children’s well-being. In the sample of 5,000 divorced parents, 16% of the children were in shared residential custody, with that level rising to 26% for children between 6 and 11. These children had marginally better outcomes on the behavioral and emotional measures than those who lived with their mothers (Kaspiew et al., 2009)."
Review--The Carol Smart U. K Study (Smart, 2001).
“…the children who were the most stressed and unhappy were not those in dual residence, but those who lived with their mother but seldom saw their father” (Smart, 2001).
Father-Child Relationships
"it is worth noting that even when the children live with their mother, spending overnight time with their father in his home is associated with closer relationships…..
....are the number of days spent living with their father related to the quality of their relationship years after the parents’ divorce? In other words, are there any more benefits if they spend more than a couple of weekends a month together?
In answering this question, the most methodologically sophisticated study is based on 1,030 university students whose parents divorced before they were 16 (Fabricius, Diaz, & Braver, 2011). Nearly 400 of them had lived in shared parenting families after their parents separated. The number of days they lived with their fathers each month and the present quality of their relationships were highly correlated. That is, the more days they had lived together each month, the higher they rated the quality of their present relationship. The amount of time these fathers and children had spent together after the parents’ divorce ranged from never up to 50% of the time. The researchers also addressed this complicated question: Does additional time together have any impact on the very worst relationships or the very best relationships? In other words, for the relationships with the best and the worst ratings, will the amount of time they spent living together be associated with any higher ratings? In short, how much does spending time together matter? To answer this question, the researchers analyzed the correlations for the “best” and the “worst” 20% of relationships. If it is assumed that the fathers in the top 20% would have had great relationships with their children regardless of how much time they lived together, then time should not be highly correlated with the relationship quality for this group. And vice versa: Time should not be associated with the quality of the relationship for the 20% with the worst relationships. In fact, however, for the best and the worst relationships, living more time together was still associated with higher quality relationships. In other words, those who lived together more of the time, had the better relationships—especially those who had lived together 30% to 50% of the time. Five other recent studies confirm these results. For 400 university students, almost all (93%) of the 80 students who had lived in dual residence families said this had been the best parenting plan for them, compared to only 30% of the other students. Nearly 70% of the sole residence students felt it would have been in their best interests to have lived more with their father. More than half (55%) said their fathers had wanted equal residential custody, but their mothers had opposed it. Even those who spent two weekends every month with their fathers said this was not nearly enough time together. The dual residence children had closer relationships with their fathers and their mothers than the others (Fabricius, 2003). Likewise, 3 years after their parents’ divorce, 80% of the children in the 597 shared parenting Wisconsin families were spending just as much time with their father and were more satisfied with their relationship with him. In contrast, more than half of the children in sole residence families were spending far less time with their fathers and were unhappy about this loss. A number of their relationships had ended altogether (Melli & Brown, 2008). In the Netherlands, 135 children in shared parenting families had as close a relationship with both parents as the 2,000 children from intact families. These father–child relationships were closer than those where the father regularly spent time with the children who lived with their mother (Spruijt & Duindam, 2010)."