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Joint custody is often better for children

Kentucky parents who are getting divorced should keep in mind that joint custody, not sole custody, is generally considered the best option for children. One psychologist published a study that concluded that shared parenting should be the norm for all children, including infants and toddlers. The study, which analyzed dozens of scientific studies on shared parenting and joint custody, came to the conclusion that prohibiting even young children from overnight stays with their non-custodial parents goes against modern understanding of child development.

Children in shared parenting families who get to see both parents frequently do much better than those in sole custody families, according to a Wake Forest University researcher. The researcher based her conclusions on an analysis of more than 50 studies comparing behavioral patterns in children in both sole and joint custody situations. According to the study, children in joint custody families have better outcomes in emotional health, behavioral problems, academic achievement and physical health. The researcher found that children in joint custody situations fare better even in cases where conflict is an issue between the children's parents.

Sole custody also hurts the relationship between a child and his or her noncustodial parent. According to researchers, most children in sole custody situations do not see their other parent more than once a month. A third see that parent even less, and many have no contact with that parent at all. While this is sometimes a direct result of the custodial arrangement, in some cases, the noncustodial parent disappears due to a belief that he or she is no longer important to the children.

Divorcing parents who are concerned they may have limited time with their kids should consider working with an attorney experienced in child custody. Legal counsel may be able to help a parent get a more favorable custodial agreement.

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