Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

Is joint parenting better for children?

After you make the difficult decision to file for legal separation or divorce, you face many complicated issues. One of the most complex, however, may be that of child custody. When children are involved in a divorce, it is critical that decisions are made with their best interests in mind. It can be hard for parents to put aside their differences and do what is best for the children. In some cases, children may be made to live in the sole physical custody of one parent, while the other parent is given visitation rights. Yet, studies show that joint parenting may be more beneficial for children. In fact, researchers have found that when children spend a significant amount of time with both parents, they show long-term advantages when compared to children who are raised in a one-parent household.

Researchers reviewed 33 studies involving children residing in joint-custody and sole-custody homes and reported the findings in the March Journal of Family Psychology. The study found that children who lived in joint-custody arrangements had an overall higher self-esteem, better school performance and stronger family relationships than children in sole-custody situations. These children also showed fewer emotional and behavioral problems throughout their childhood. These positive benefits can lead to future advantages, including better jobs, marriages and social connections.

The study also found that parents involved in joint-custody arrangements generally had less conflict, which could also benefit children. Conflict between parents can cause children to experience stress and anxiety, which can have devastating consequences.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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