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A look at joint-custody: What is best for kids

When parents decide to terminate their marriage, there are a host of factors to negotiate. One of the most stressful may be that of child custody. The judge presiding over the case will make the decision based on what is best for the kids. Traditionally, people thought children favored best when kept in the sole custody of one parent. That way, kids were not tracked back and forth from home to home and were able to spend the majority of time in one home. Yet studies show that kids who are raised in joint-custody homes may have advantages over those who are kept in sole-custody situations.

The idea is that children who spend a significant amount of time with both parents show less emotional and behavioral problems. This was found in a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology. Researchers compared children living in sole-custody, joint-custody and traditional family arrangements. They found that kids in joint-custody households faired better in school, received higher grades and had a higher self-esteem. These children also had stronger relationships with friends and family.

The same results were shown in a study conducted by the Father Involvement Research Alliance. Kids that spend a good amount of time with both their mother and father had better marriages, stronger support groups and good careers over long-term. Boys showed less aggression and girls had a small chance of becoming pregnant at a young age. Kids gain psychological benefits from both parents, and it may be critical that they are able to spend time with both parents.

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