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Why is shared custody better for children of divorce?

The old model of custody looked pretty familiar to just about everyone. The mother often had primary physical custody of the kids and the father saw his offspring every other weekend and occasional holidays.

The new model of custody tries to divide parenting time straight down the middle between the parents -- as much as possible, anyhow (unless, naturally, one of the parents is unfit to be in that role for some reason).

While psychologists, child development experts and researchers are joining in agreement that shared parenting is the way to be, what exactly makes it so superior to the old method?

The old method assumed that it was better to give one parent primary control in order to limit the conflict the children had to experience if the parents couldn't agree on how to handle something.

The new method has discovered that the conflicts between parents and the parents' relationship with each other matter less than the child's relationship with each of his or her parents in turn.

So far, the research is winning. Children in shared parenting situations generally do better in everything from academic and social success to just having a more optimistic outlook about their general futures.

The key thing that experts try to stress with parents is that modern custody arrangements are designed not to have a clear "winner" or "loser." They're designed to be focused entirely around the children, and they give both parents the opportunity to actually parent.

There are no "Disney Dads" because fathers have to be there for the hard part of parenting as well, which may ultimately reduce friction between the parents as well, since neither is stuck doing the heavy lifting emotionally or excluded from the fun times.

For more information on how you can handle a custody dispute, it's wise to talk to an attorney. There are often changes on the legal horizon that have to be adapted to and managed. An early response is far better than a slow one.

Source: StarTribune, "New research supports shared custody for children in divorce," Gail Rosenblum, accessed Nov. 02, 2017

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