Determining child custody may be one of the most difficult topics to tackle when creating a divorce settlement. In some cases, it may become a dispute over who deserves to have primary custody of the children. However, it is critical to make this decision based on the best interests of the children.
Traditionally, one parent receives primary custody of the child, while the other parent receives visitation. Yet, studies show this may not be the best option for children. Not only do joint custody arrangements benefit children, but they can be advantageous to parents as well.
What are the benefits of joint-custody?
According to a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, children of divorced parents fair better when they are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents, as opposed to being raised primarily by one parent. Children raised in shared parent arrangements showed the following benefits:
- Higher self-esteem, less depression and less anxiety
- Higher school performance
- Fewer behavioral issues
- Stronger family and friend relationships and support groups
Long-term results of shared parenting included long lasting marriages, successful careers, strong support groups and better quality of life.
Why do children need both parents?
As amazing as a single parent may be, children benefit from being exposed to both parents. Mothers and fathers both contribute unique characteristics to a child. For example, while mothers traditionally comfort, heal and create a safe environment, fathers are known to encourage children to try new things and discipline children.
Furthermore, children may benefit from shared parenting styles, having a schedule and feeling the constant love and support from both parents.