Counseling You Through Life's Difficult Times

Is joint-custody a better option?

Whether you have recently filed for divorce or you are simply considering the idea, there are many issues that arise. One of the most important is that of child custody and how you and your spouse will continue raising your children once you are separated. Traditionally, the child is put in the sole physical custody of one parent, and the non-custodial parent is given a visitation schedule. However, studies show that children who are raised in joint-custody arrangements may have advantages over those who are raised in sole-custody households.

Children need both their mother and father to develop crucial life skills. Each parent provides something that the other parent does not. For example, the Father Involvement Research Alliance reports that fathers bring children a sense of competition, achievement and independence. Mothers, on the other hand, teach children the importance of working together, and treating others are equals while giving them a sense of security.

A study published in Family Psychology found that children who are raised in joint-custody households had higher self-esteem, fewer emotional and behavioral problems, better school achievements and stronger family and friend relationships than those in sole-custody houses. Children who were able to interact with their fathers on a regular basis showed long-term benefits, such as stronger marriages, lower levels of stress, had more rewarding careers and achieved higher levels of education. In most cases, it is important for children to spend a significant amount of time with both parents.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.