Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Family Court Review

Publication Date

4-2014

Abstract

It is gratifying to see that the spirited debate that ensued at the Think Tank remains enlivened in the commentaries. These additional perspectives were supplied by several experts and committed professionals akin to those who participated in the Think Tank. We wish to thank all of the commentators for thoughtful analyses of what did, and did not, happen at the Think Tank. Each commentary provided a frame of reference useful to us, as the Reporters, in reflecting upon what was achieved and what tasks remain.

Thirty-two professionals, representing a wide variety of disciplines and expertise, convened to discuss the issues surrounding shared parenting practices and policy. We reached consensus points, as noted in the Final Report and discussed in the commentaries. We also left some of the thorniest issues for subsequent discussion and work, much to the disappointment of some commentators. Reading through the commentaries, we felt a bit of déjà vu. The same divisions that made consensus so elusive at the Think Tank are evident in the nature and breadth of perspectives expressed in the commentaries. To wit:

Three of the six commentators (one legal scholar and two mental health scholars) favored statutory presumptions or guidelines regarding shared parental decision making, although they differed as to whether they endorsed a blanket approval or supported a shared decision-making presumption only under particular circumstances. Two legal practitioners writing together espoused no presumption generally, but would consider shared decision making in specific situations. One mental health scholar opposed presumptions but only for some of the family court populace, and the only judge providing commentary strongly advocated judicial discretion and individual decision making. Clearly, diversityin opinion reigned, just as it did at the Think Tank.

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