A judge will consider a number of factors before deciding child custody. But above all else, the judge will consider what type of custody arrangement is in the child’s best interests. The court typically finds that sharing custody is best for children, and now there is a scientific study that agrees with this line of thought.
Earlier this year, a study in the Psychology, Public Policy and Law journal examined how spending time with parents after a divorce affected the child’s future relationship with his or her parents. Researchers interviewed more than 100 college students whose parents had either separated or divorced before they were three years old. The participants were asked to discuss their current relationships with both of their parents. The parents of the participants were also interviewed so researchers could learn more about their post-divorce custody arrangement. The goal was to determine whether the post-divorce custody arrangement impacted the child’s future relationship with one or both of their parents.
The results revealed that the children who spent equal time with both parents after a divorce went on to have the best relationships with both of their parents in their adult lives. The more unequal the parenting time was for the children, the worse their relationships were with one or both of their parents as adults.
Researchers have a few theories as to why shared parenting leads to better relationships. First, shared parenting gives single mothers a break from the stress of having to raise a child. Since the mother experiences less stress, this could create a healthier relationship with her child and a better home life. On the other hand, shared parenting forces the father to learn how to parent the child on his own. This builds a strong foundation for the future relationship between the father and the child.
Of course, a joint custody arrangement is not right for everyone. For example, children will not benefit from spending equal time with a parent who has a history of domestic violence or drug abuse. In this case, joint custody would not be in the child’s best interest. But in general, spending a significant amount of time with each parent will greatly benefit the child.
If you are preparing for a child custody dispute, seek legal representation from the attorneys at Adams Family Law. We know that there is nothing more important than your children, so we will fight tirelessly to protect their best interests. To schedule a consultation, call 513-929-9333 or email Steven@adamsfamilylaw.com.