Negotiating child custody is one of the most difficult tasks when filing for divorce or legal separation. In Texas, and in many other states in the United States, courts often select the person who was the primary caretaker during the marriage to act as primary, custodial parent. The non-custodial parent is then given visitation rights.
As a result of a sole physical custody arrangement, children may not be able to spend an adequate amount of time with both parents. Yet, studies show that children raised in joint custody situations may have advantages over those raised in sole custody arrangements.
Advantages for children
Children who spend a significant amount of time with both their mother and father often experience certain benefits, including the following:
- Better grades in school
- Less episodes of anxiety and depression
- Higher sense of self and self esteem
- Better family relationships
- Less likely to do illegal drugs and drink
Over a longer period of time, kids in joint custody relationships enjoy longer lasting marriages, better careers and develop stronger social support networks than children who spend the majority amount of time with one parent.
Advantages for parents
Parents who share custody also experience advantages. They often have more positive relationships with one another, which can also help children. Furthermore, parents have more time to regroup and take care of themselves while their former spouse has the children.
Joint custody arrangements do not work for everyone, such as in cases where one parent is abusive. It is important to look at the specific circumstances of the situation and determine whether it is the best option for your family.