The importance of a relationship with both parents

New research supports the importance of children having a relationship with both parents for the overall happiness and success of the children following divorce. Additionally, shared custody and shared parenting, which are favored in Florida whenever possible, are also important to achieving this goal. The professor conducting the research noted that shared custody arrangements are preferred whenever possible.

She also noted that even for young children, parenting plans that support shared parenting should be the norm. While this may seem more acceptable these days to many, in greater than 80 percent of child custody cases when the family law court orders custody, the mother is awarded full physical custody of the children. The concern that has led to this kind of thinking has been over conflict which the research finds is poorly understood.

Misunderstandings about the role of conflict, which usually resolves within several years of the divorce, have led to child custody arrangements that may not be in the best interests of the children. The best interests of the child is always the guiding consideration in child custody situations. Rather than mothers having physical custody with fathers receiving visitation one night a week and every other weekend, the research shows that a strong relationship with both parents is best for children and that the role of conflict may have been overstated.

Because children do better personally, emotionally and in school when the have a relationship with both parents, the shared parenting model is recommended. Whatever the circumstances, the family law court seeks to determine what is in the best interests of the child and create a child custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child which it is helpful for parents to be aware of an understand.

Source: Grand Haven Tribune, "New research supports shared custody for children in divorce," Gail Rosenblum, Sept. 7, 2017

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