Journal Article

Children's and young people's experiences in various residential arrangements: a longitudinal study to evaluate criteria for custody and residence decision making

K-F Kaltenborn

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 31, issue 1, pages 81-117
Published in print February 2001 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online February 2001 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/31.1.81
Children's and young people's experiences in various residential arrangements: a longitudinal study to evaluate criteria for custody and residence decision making

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The child's welfare or the child's best interest is, in many countries, the court's paramount consideration for determining custody and residence of a child after parental separation or divorce. This longitudinal study evaluates the custody criterion child's relationships and residence preferences. Based on a qualitative study design including interviews with children and parents, the experiences of 62 children of separated or divorced parents in various residential arrangements are analysed. The main findings are: (i) a residential arrangement in accordance with the child's relationships and residence preferences accords with the child's welfare and represents a positive living situation with loved people in the family and social environment; (ii) the personal relationships of the child are in no way static, but demonstrate a noticeable dynamic as they change under the influence of internal and external factors. Therefore a timely change of residence, which occurs in accordance with the changed emotion preferences of the child, is beneficial; (iii) a residential arrangement contrary to the child's relationships and residence preferences represents for the child involved a difficult situation, which can lead to one of three different processes: adjustment, a trajectory of suffering or initiatives to change the living situation. This means that some children adjust, others experience trajectory processes of suffering, and those in the remaining cases act as competent social agents, who can autonomously represent their own interests and pursue them in order to initiate or contribute to a change of their residence. Findings of the study are discussed, and suggestions are offered for substantive and procedural laws to guarantee the child's welfare in custody and residence settlements and for further research.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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