When couples file for divorce, they are faced with a myriad of issues that must be negotiated in the final divorce settlement. Child custody arrangements are one of the most critical, as they impact the wellbeing of the child for years to come. Although every situation has different circumstances, which may impact the type of custody that is best for the child, studies show that children who spend a significant amount of time with both parents may have advantages when compared to children who are in sole-custody situations.
The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, looked at children in sole-custody, joint-custody and traditional family living arrangements. Researchers found that kids in joint-custody living arrangements faired better in school, had stronger family relationships, showed fewer behavioral problems and had an overall higher self-esteem in comparison to children who spent the majority of their time with one parent.
In traditional sole-custody arrangements, kids are placed with their mother. However, fathers play a vital role in a child’s development. Kids who spend time with their fathers show many of the same benefits of joint-custody living arrangements. Over time, kids who spend time with their fathers have better careers, stronger social support groups, longer marriages and experience a better overall wellbeing. It is important to understand that joint-custody may not be possible in every situation, due to distance and parent careers. Yet, when kids are able to spend a good deal of time with each parent, it can help their physical, emotional, behavioral and educational development.