Parents naturally want the best for their children, but after a divorce, deciding the best way to raise them can be a challenge. At one time, the consensus was that children should live with the mother, as if fathers were expendable. Psychology research strongly indicates this is not the case. In studies funded by the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) starting in the 1970s, researchers found that children not only wanted more time with fathers, but needed more time. This was the case whether the parents were separated or not.
The Legal System is Catching up to Research
Although the scientific community has known of such findings for decades, the legal system sometimes still fails to agree. Traditionally-minded judges at times fail to award shared custody, deferring instead to the older model of placing children with the mother while granting fathers only visitation rights.
Researchers compare such visitation rights to relegating a father to uncle status. The result is that the children only have the fun days with their father who becomes more of an entertainer than someone to emulate. This shortchanges the children more than the father.
After more than 50 studies into the concept of shared parenting, researchers have found that the ideal situation is for children to receive co-equal time with both parents.
Benefits of Shared Custody
Parents strive to provide their children with the best education they can, the finest clothing, the safest living situation, and the warmest surroundings. Yet, when divorce divides a family, those most likely to suffer are the children. Shared custody is rapidly gaining traction both in society and in the legal community because of the benefits afforded the children.
Shared custody is an arrangement whereby both parents have equal custody of the children. At times, the familial home is kept and instead of the children moving each week, the parents move in and out depending on the schedule. This provides children with more stability and security. Although this is the ideal situation, it is not always practical for financial reasons. More often, parents rotate custody of the children each week and the children move from the mother’s home to the father’s while retaining their school assignment regardless of where each parent lives. The goal is to provide as much shared parent time and continuity in the children’s lives as possible.
Research shows that regardless of the exact situation, when parents share custody equally, the children are less likely to experience anxiety and depression, become involved with drugs, alcohol, smoking, and other harmful behaviors, and perform better in school.
The reason is simple: When both parents take an active involvement in their children’s lives, relationships are strengthened and children fare better. Shared custody is a must for parents who want the best for their children.
Haddonfield Divorce Lawyers at Kearney, Burns & Martone Assist in Drafting Custody Agreements
Let the Haddonfield divorce lawyers at Kearney, Burns & Martone be the advocates your family needs. If facing a divorce in Camden County, Burlington County, or Gloucester County, let us help by contacting us online or by calling 856-547-7733 now.