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Studies show joint custody may be best

Going through a divorce can be extremely emotional, especially when there are children involved. In most cases, both parents want what is best for their children, even though they were unable to make their marriage work. Whether parents can negotiate child custody through mediation or a court-appointed attorney is left to make the final decision, children may be placed in the sole custody of one parent or in joint-custody. While sole-custody is rather common, as it allows the child to stay in one place most of the time, studies show the true benefits of joint-custody and how it can be advantageous for kids to spend a significant amount of time with both parents.

Researchers analyzed 33 studies comparing the benefits of sole-custody and joint-custody arrangements. The results, published in the March Journal of Family Psychology, showed that children who are raised in joint-custody households had higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems, better school performance and stronger family relationships than those brought up in single-family homes.

The results show that children who have ample time with both their mother and father have developmental and behavioral advantages. Fathers and mothers play an important role in their children’s lives. Children who have access to involved fathers show more direction, are less impulsive, and are more likely to achieve successful careers. They also have strong marriages, social networks and undergo higher levels of education. Fathers teach children to be independent, competitive and value achievement, while mothers display security, caring and the benefits of working together. Although children may have to travel back and forth to each parents house, it may be well worth the travel.