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Children may benefit from shared child custody arrangements

28402965_S.jpgA two parent, one-household dynamic used to be the standard family unit in decades past. However, since nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, the reality is that these days some parents must carry on their parental roles separate from the other parent. Even when parents make their best attempts to keep a family a unit, it is sometimes best to end a marriage for everyone involved. Thus, parents in Illinois and elsewhere need to consider how they can meet the needs of their child moving forward.

Even in a divorce situation, the child's ability to have a happy and healthy future is increased when both his or her mother and father are present in their life. Thus, when it comes to child custody arrangements, it is ideal to develop a shared custody agreement. While it is apparent that shared parenting is not always possible, for example when there is need to preserve protection from an abusive or negligent parent, current research suggests the shared custody should be the norm for children of all ages.

Although according to researchers this is the ideal parenting plan, recent statistics indicate that mothers are awarded full physical custody more often than fathers. In fact, more than 80 percent of the court-ordered child custody cases result in the mother obtaining primary custody. One major reason for this is the stress a high-conflict divorce can cause. If it is obvious that parents cannot get along and the courts seek to reduce the stress and negative impact this conflict could generate, a primary custody situation might be more ideal.

While stability is an important factor to meet and establish, it is sometime unfair and problematic to believe that conflicts during dissolution will extend into the post-divorce life. Conflicts are known to subside when divorce is finalized. And even if conflicts remain, they are likely to only last during the first few years. Researchers point out that post-divorce conflicts are likely short-term while child custody arrangements last a childhood. Thus, it is more imperative that parenting plans are carefully assessed, discussed and agreed to if possible.

Divorcing with children is never easy. While it is crucial to keep the best interests of the child in mind, it is also important to consider custody options that allow both parents to remain in the child's life. If you are dealing with a custody issue, it is important to consider your options and how best to address them during and after dissolution.

Source: StarTribune, "New research supports shared custody for children in divorce," Gail Rosenblum, Sept. 3, 2017

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