What to Know About the Benefits of Joint Custody
A recent study in Wisconsin found that the percentage of parents who share custody rose from 5% in the 1980s to 27% in 2008. Changing views regarding gender roles is one key reason why it has become more common for parents to share custody of their children after a divorce. Let’s take a look at some key benefits that parents and children derive from a shared custody arrangement.
Children Get Both Parents in Their Lives
When crafting a custody order after a divorce, the best interests of the child are the top priority. As having two parents is generally in a child’s best interest, judges are loath to not grant custody to both parents whenever possible. It is important to note that couples may split legal custody without sharing physical custody.
Legal custody allows a parent to make decisions for a child while physical custody means that a child lives with the parent. However, parents who don’t have physical custody will likely be granted the right to have their children visit during the day or stay overnight. Even if they don’t get along with each other, it is still possible for each parent to have a good relationship with his or her child.
Joint Custody Creates Better Parents
Obtaining custody rights gives a parent the autonomy and freedom to create boundaries tailored to his or her child’s needs. However, it also provides a parent with the responsibility to enforce those boundaries. This is necessary to maintain a healthy family life.
When parents live together, it may be tempting for one person to simply delegate some or all child care tasks to the other individual. However, when there is only one parent available to provide such care, he or she has to read that bedtime story or figure out a way to stop the baby from crying.
As most parents learn through experience, having to take an active role in a child’s life will help them in the long run. Getting to know their children on a deeper level may make it easier for parents to anticipate their needs. This could help prevent issues like drug use, skipping school or taking part in other harmful activities.
Children Have Stronger Relationships With Their Parents
Parents who share custody of their children must learn to work as a team. Since they both have rights to the child, one person cannot take steps in an effort to cut out his or her ex. Fortunately, many parents actually find that that they work together better without the stress of their own strained relationship weighing them down.
Therefore, the focus is typically truly on the child and his or her development into a functional adult. Even if the parents still don’t get along after their divorce is finalized, they generally have enough respect for each other to not interfere with the relationship that each person has with the child. When children don’t have to worry about drama involving their parents, they tend to feel more comfortable talking about their feelings.
It May Cost Less to Simply Share Custody
Assuming that both parents are fit to have relationships with their children, opting for joint custody may help everyone save time and money. This is because there will be no need to go to court or spend an exorbitant amount on legal fees. However, it may be a good idea to have a child custody attorney review a parenting plan or any other agreement before it becomes binding. A lawyer might also be present during mediation sessions to help resolve issues before or after the divorce.
If you need a child custody attorney to help with a dispute with your child’s other parent, the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner can help. You can call our Jenkintown, PA, office at (215) 886-1266 to schedule a consultation. We’re prepared to answer your questions. You can also get in touch with us by sending a fax to (215) 886-2670.