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Joint Custody Better for the Kids

Posted on in Divorce

Divorce is never easy. If you and your soon-to-be ex have children, divorce is even more complicated. Not only are you dealing with your and your spouse’s emotions, there’s the well being of the kids to take into consideration. If the divorce is amicable—which, let’s face it, it rarely is—deciding to share custody of your children is the obvious answer. Yet even if the divorce is less than friendly, research shows that deciding on joint custody is the best option for children. According to a report published in the American Psychological Association (APA), “children from divorced families who either live with both parents at different times or spend certain amounts of time with each parent are better adjusted in most cases than children who live and interact with just one parent.” This, of course, takes into consideration visitation rights as well as custody, but it should be noted that the more time a child spends with both parents, the better off he or she will be.  “Children in joint custody arrangements had less behavior and emotional problems, had higher self-esteem, better family relations and school performance than children in sole custody arrangements,” according to the APA. The perception that a joint custody arrangement could be damaging to children because it has the potential to expose children to ongoing parental conflict is just not true, according to the report. According to Parents magazine, there’s some important framework to consider if you’re embarking on a joint custody arrangement. This includes setting up a routine for your child or children, that “accommodates both parents’ schedules and serves the best interest of the child.” This includes holiday arrangements. Another tip from Parents magazine is to “leave young children out of negotiations, and present your decision matter-of-factly.” In order to be fair to both parents, try to make weekday and weekend time for both parents, so that one parent doesn’t end up being the “fun” one, while the other is responsible for more of the day-to-day. Determining child custody is only one complicated matter of family law and divorce. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois family law attorney today.   Image courtesy of Mindy McGregor /

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