Research supports shared custody arrangements

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Thursday, August 31, 2017.

When Illinois parents of young children get a divorce, some might assume there will be an arrangement in which the mother gets custody of the children and the father has some visitation time. While mothers get custody in around 80 percent of cases in the United States, this is slowly changing. Shared parenting, already the norm in countries such as Sweden, is an arrangement in which the child spends roughly equal time with each parent. Missouri and Kentucky are among the states that have passed legislation to encourage shared parenting, and other states may be following suit.

The reason for this shift is a growing body of research indicating that children benefit from shared parenting even in situations in which the child is very young. There are benefits for parents as well. When mothers are not responsible for child care full time, they have more opportunity to reenter the work force and become financially independent. On the other hand, fathers are able to move beyond the role of simply being an occasional parent who pays support and can develop a stronger relationship with the children.

In Boston, the 2017 International Conference on Shared Parenting included more research that supported this arrangement. Research also indicates that children prefer having more time with both parents.

While it is common for parents to share legal custody, they might want to consider sharing physical custody as well. Legal custody refers to parents having decision-making rights about issues such as a child’s schooling and health care. Parents can work out an arrangement with the help of their respective attorneys that involves sharing both types of custody. They may also want to create a parenting agreement that addresses any potential conflicts that may arise.

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