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What do studies say about shared custody?

Joint custody and sole custody have long since stayed at the top of the list for general custody arrangement options in divorces.

Over the years, however, more information has come out highlighting the comparative benefits of joint or shared custody.

Shared vs. sole custody

Psychology Today talks about shared custody and its potential benefits. First, what are the differences between shared and sole custody?

As the name implies, shared custody involves the two parents sharing their custody together. This normally means shared legal custody, as shared and equal physical custody is hard to accomplish with parents often living a fair distance apart. By comparison, in sole custody situations, one parent holds all of the legal responsibilities and rights in regard to their child.

A better outcome for shared custody

Over time, studies have shown that joint custody tends to have better outcomes for children of divorce on a whole. For one, they seem to have healthier coping mechanisms. This often manifests in childhood and carries on through adulthood, which is seen in the difference between adult children of divorce who suffer from addictions. The number remains significantly higher with those who experienced sole custody.

Studies also show that children of shared custody seem to have more stable mental health. They have lower reported rates of anxiety and depression, and less severe cases when they do get reported. Many adult children with anxiety and depression also attribute the primary causes to reasons outside of the divorce.

Thus, shared custody holds a number of important benefits to the children who experience it. It is a good option for parents to consider if it is possible.

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