This article summarizes panel discussions that took place at an international conference on shared parenting (SP) held in May 2017. The panelists were internationally recognized experts on the legal and psychological implications of custody arrangements and parenting plans. Seven broad themes dominated the discussions: whether or not there was persuasive evidence that SP provides real benefits to children whose parents separate; what specific factors make SP beneficial; what symbolic value SP might have; whether there should be a legal presumption in favor of SP, and if so, what factors should make for exceptions; whether high parental conflict, parents’ failure to agree on the parenting plan, or dynamics of parental alienation should preclude SP; and what should happen when a parent wants to relocate away from the other parent.
When caregivers conflict, systemic alliances shift and healthy parent-child roles can be corrupted. The present paper describes three forms of role corruption which can occur within the enmeshed dyad and as the common complement of alienation and estrangement. These include the child who is prematurely promoted to serve as a parent’s ally and partner, the child who is inducted into service as the parent’s caregiver, and the child whose development is inhibited by a parent who needs to be needed. These dynamics—adultification, parentification and infantilization, respectively—are each illustrated with brief case material. Family law professionals and clinicians alike are encouraged to conceptualize these dynamics as they occur within an imbalanced family system and thereby to craft interventions which intend to re-establish healthy roles. Some such interventions are reviewed and presented as one part of the constellation of services necessary for the triangulated child.