Full project title

Shared Physical Custody in Sweden - Development, determinants, stability and outcomes of a new form of family organization.

Project leader

Jani Turunen

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2017
End date: 31/12/2019


The aim of the project is to investigate the development, determinants, stability and outcomes of shared physical custody for children in Sweden from the 1970s to today. Approximately 500,000 children in Sweden have divorced or separated parents, and the share living alternately in two parental households has increased dramatically from 1% in the 1980s to almost one-third today. Shared physical custody is in international research assumed to be both positive and harmful for children. Closeness and involvement with both parents and access to both parents' resources can be expected to reduce economic vulnerability and increase the emotional wellbeing children. 
On the other hand, shared physical custody require that the child must adapt to constantly changing surroundings and parental practices, disrupt their social contacts and increase the complexity of everyday life which is likely to lead to increased stress and ill health. Sweden is often considered an international forerunner in family behaviors with high acceptance of non-traditional family forms and is also the country with the highest percentage of children in shared physical custody with alternating residence. Sweden also has generous social policies that support families with children making it a very interesting, but under studied, case for analysis of shared physical custody. 
This project will contribute to the limited international research in this area by examining different aspects of well-being and different types of shared physical custody, but also its occurrence over time and the relation with socioeconomic and demographic background factors. We will also study the stability of these arrangements and how it is related to age, and socioeconomic and demographic factors. We will also analyze the impact of changes in child custody laws. This will be possible by using high quality Swedish and comparative data with large nationally representative samples and information from both children and parents.