Questions about how children fare in divided families have become as perplexing and urgent as they are common. In this work on custody arrangements, the developmental psychologist Eleanor Maccoby and the legal scholar Robert Mnookin consider these questions and their ramifications for society. This book examines the social and legal realities of how divorcing parents make arrangements for their children, "Dividing the Child" is based on a large, representative study of families from a wide range of socioeconomic levels. Maccoby and Mnookin followed a group of more than 1000 families for three years after the parents file for divorce. Their findings show how different divorce agreements are reached, from the uncontested dealings to formal judicial rulings, and how various custody arrangements fare as time passes and family circumstances change. Numerous examples of joint custody and father custody are considered in this account, along with the mother-custody families more commonly studied; and in most cases the point of view of both parents is presented. After the divorce, most children spent time in both parental households. The authors identify three different patterns of co-parenting: cooperative, conflicted and disengaged. They explain why post-divorce conflict rarely involves formal legal disputes, although parents have difficulty in establishing effective parental cooperation. This book should be invaluable to the lawyers, judges, social workers and parents who, more and more often, must make wise and informed decisions concerning the welfare and care of children and divorce.