Is joint custody best for kids?

Research shows that children who have significant interaction with both parents may be better adjusted than those who do not.

When parents file for divorce in Utah, there is often a wide-range of topics to negotiate while creating the settlement. One of the most difficult topics may be arranging child custody and determining where the child will gain the best development. In some cases, the judge presiding over the case will choose a sole-custody arrangement, where the child resides primarily with one parent and has visitation from the non-custodial parent. Although this arrangement is common, research shows that children who are raised in joint-custody may have a better chance of living a happy and successful life.

The research shows...

Research published in the Journal of Family Psychology shows that children who come from separated homes are better adjusted when they spend a significant amount of time with both parents. While it may seem hard for a child to travel from one parent's house to another, it is the bond that they develop with both parents that help them become a stronger and better developed person. The meta-analysis reviewed over 33 studies conducted on children who were involved in sole-custody, joint-custody and traditional family arrangements. The data showed that kids who lived with both parents had fewer emotional and behavioral problems.

Another study conducted by the Father Involvement Research Alliance found that kids who have regular access to their fathers act more confident in new situations and are not afraid to explore their surroundings. The U.S. Department of Education reported that kids who are involved with their fathers are 43 percent more likely to earn good grades in school, have less behavioral problems and experience less depression that those who do not see their fathers on a regular basis.

Reasoning behind the facts

One reason why children who are raised by both parents are better adjusted is that each parent plays a different role in a child's life. Except in situations where a parent is abusive or harmful to a child, kids need the love and support of both parents. Mothers give kids a sense of security and offer a more nurturing and caring approach to life. Fathers, on the other hand, encourage independence, competition and achievement.

Getting through the hard times

Going through a divorce is an emotional process. You may be experiencing a wide-range of feelings, which may affect your children as well. A Utah attorney who has experience handling child custody cases may be extremely helpful. A lawyer may answer your questions, explore your legal options and stand by your side as an advocate to help you make decisions during this hard time.