Compared with past generations, joint custody is far more popular among today’s parents. While sharing physical custody is not the right choice for everyone in Maryland, research has shown that there are benefits to co-parenting. Even if you are still engaged in high levels of conflict with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you may be surprised to learn that co-parenting could still be a viable option.
A recent review of 54 studies determined that there are many benefits to co-parenting. The various studies looked at children whose parents shared custody as well as kids who only had one parent with physical custody. Ultimately, the children living in shared custody situations fared better after divorce.
Seeing both parents is good for children
Divorce is an emotional process, and your children went through that process just as much as you did. Because of this, children still need emotional support from both parents. While it might be uncomfortable for you to regularly see your ex, your kids have the chance for a better outcome than if you had sole physical custody.
High levels of conflict did not affect these children. This means that being exposed to conflict is a much smaller factor than seeing both parents in terms of life outcomes. Researchers measured a number of different matters when looking at children’s well-being. These include:
- Behavioral problems
- Alcohol and drug use
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Family relationships
- Academic achievements
- And more
Babies and toddlers do just fine
If you are the parent of a baby and toddler, your concerns are probably different than those of parents who have school-aged children. Parents spend their children’s younger years forming important bonds that lay crucial foundations for the future. You may feel reluctant to consider co-parenting if it means your child will sleep at your ex’s house several nights every week.
Research shows that you do not have to feel worried. Babies and toddlers do not lose the bonds they have with their parents when they share joint custody. Starting out co-parenting when your kids are still young can also be easier than starting out with sole physical custody and switching to joint custody in the future.
Keep your children’s best interests in mind
Your children’s best interests are at the center of every decision you make, and you want the very best for them. This may mean that co-parenting is the most appropriate option that you and your ex to make. However, since this arrangement does not work for everyone, a sole custody arrangement might be more appropriate.
Deciding which option is best for your family is not always easy. You and your ex may be eager to figure out an arrangement yourselves so that the matter does not have to go to court, but that does not mean that you will agree with one another. If you need to further explore your options for co-parenting or other child custody arrangements, you should consider how helpful it might be to speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney.