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Benefits of joint custody over sole custody

Divorce can spark a wide range of desires for divorcing parents. If disputes are running high and spouses are not getting along, this could cause some divorcing parents to seek contrasting parenting plans for their children. While some parents may work tirelessly to obtain primary custody, allowing only visitation to the other parent, other parents may find that joint custody may be more ideal for everyone involved.

Although a spouse may not want to share anything with his or her now ex-spouse, shared parenting is found to embody many benefits. These benefits are not only experienced by the parents but their children as well. To begin, recent studies have found that children in joint custody situations have better outcomes academically, emotionally and behaviorally when compared to those in a sole physical custody situation.

With regards to infants and toddlers, being in either type of parenting plan does not have more negative outcomes than the other. This means that shared overnight parenting time does not weaken the bond between parent and child.

Some parents believe that if there is a lot of parental conflict, it is best if parents do not interact. This can cause some parents to seek sole custody. However, research indicates that joint custody is still likely to have better outcomes for the child even in matters where there is high conflict. However, the benefits of joint custody are not linked to obtaining a better co-parenting relationship or lower conflict in the situation.

When seeking a joint custody plan, many parents initially appose it. Additionally, it was found that parents in these custody arrangements are more likely to have detached, distant or parallel parenting relationship than to develop a co-parenting relationship where they work closely and together with their ex.

Whether you are seeking a sole custody or joint custody order during dissolution, it is important to understand the benefits and downsides of these arrangements. Divorcing is certainly not easy, but when children are involved, this can make the process more complex and emotional. Thus, it is vital to understand how best to move forward with the process and how to seek a custody agreement that works for everyone involved.

Source: Ifstudies.org, "10 Surprising Findings on Shared Parenting After Divorce or Separation," Linda Nielsen, Dec. 26, 2017

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