Kids are often unwilling participants of divorce. When parents decide to legally separate or terminate their marriage, the children involved must wait for their parents to make critical decisions that affect their lives. This includes whether the child will reside primarily with one parent or share time with both parents.
There have been arguments on both sides regarding which is best for children. Should kids switch back and forth between parents in joint-custody arrangements or should they stay with one parent in sole-custody living situations? While the final decision is often based on the unique circumstances of the case and what is best for the children involved, studies show that joint-custody may be beneficial for kids.
When children are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents, they tend to have advantages when compared to children who spend most of their time with one parent. This comes from more than 50 studies that compare children raised in joint-custody homes, traditional family homes and sole-custody homes. Researchers found that children in joint-custody situations showed the following benefits:
- Developed fewer emotional problems
- Achieved higher grades
- Completed higher levels of education
- Displayed fewer behavioral issues
- Exhibited stronger bonds with social support groups
Researchers found that children who spend time with both parents have stronger family relationships and experience longer marriages on average. Furthermore, they experience fewer physical ailments, which may manifest from stress, worry and depression.
The thought is that when parents share custody of their children, they have more positive interactions with one another. Parents work together to raise the children, even though they are not married. This positive interaction is beneficial for kids. Children are also able to gain valuable social skills from both parents and have a greater chance to achieve optimal development.