Divorce is an inevitable reality for millions of families. Parental separation, no matter how amicable, is a big change and some children adjust easier than others. New research offers insight into what custody agreement offers kids the best outcome after divorce. Swedish researchers found that children benefit mentally and psychologically when custody is shared equally between both parents.
The Benefits of Sharing Custody
Researchers at the Uppsala University, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden studied 3,656 preschool-age children with divorced parents. They found that when compared to children living only or mostly with one parent, children living equally with both parents had fewer psychological and behavioral problems.
Children living in a variety of different custody arrangements were evaluated in the Uppsala study. Researchers studied the children’s progress using the “Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire” (SDQ), a behavioral screening tool commonly used by doctors and educators. The SDQ investigates how well children aged three to 16 are able to focus, tackle problems, and navigate peer relationships. While some psychologists believe that children benefit from the predictability and stability of living primarily in one home with the same parent, the Uppsala study suggests otherwise. Children spending equal time with both parents displayed the same psychological results as children living full-time with both parents in the same home.
Additional Research Supporting Joint Custody
The old mindset was that children, especially infants and toddlers, needed their mothers more than their fathers on a daily basis. Custody agreements toward the end of the 20th century arranged for kids to see their father every other weekend. These “visits” made the father seem less integral to raising the children and more of a friend they saw every so often. Children perform better when their father is much more than a friend, however. Research shows that time spent with their children helps fathers cement those early bonds. Fathers influence children with a sense of persistence and willingness to overcome challenges. Children of all ages need equal time with their father.
Several decades and more than 50 studies later, researchers have proven the importance of joint physical custody. Kids spending at least 35 percent of their time with each parent have more stable and meaningful relationships with both parents. Studies show kids in joint custody arrangements perform better academically, are less susceptible to peer pressure, make better choices, and are less likely to become stressed or depressed. For many families, joint custody simply is not feasible. The goal is for children to build solid relationships with both parents, even if a joint custody arrangement is not practical. When one parent is absent, step-parents, grandparents, and extended family members can help provide the love, support, and guidance all children need to grow happy and healthy.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Resolve Child Custody Disputes
Towson child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC help couples resolve challenging child custody disputes fairly and quickly, to spare children from having to testify in court. Call 443-589-0150 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. We are located in Hunt Valley and Towson, serving residents throughout Maryland, and in and around Hunt Valley, Cockeysville, Upper Falls, Phoenix, Riderwood, Sparks Glencoe, Towson, Brooklandville, Butler, Stevenson, Glyndon, Monkton, Reisterstown, Pikesville, Owings Mills, Parkville, Boring, Glen Arm, and Baldwin, Maryland.