Many states are moving their models for determining child custody to favor shared parenting. Shared parenting is when you and the other parent have equal or almost equal time with the children instead of one parent having the children the majority of the time and the other having visitation time with them.
The prevailing thought is that shared parenting is always the best option, and the Institute for Family Studies explains research backs that up.
Many people assume sole custody situations are better for children than joint custody when there is a lot of conflict between the parents. However, research shows this is not true. Parents can still work together and raise their children even if they do not get along personally. It is still better for the children, who have lower anxiety and stress, to be in a shared custody situation whenever possible.
A common belief is that smaller children will do the best in a shared parenting situation because they will have the chance to bond with both parents. Research shows that regardless of other factors, such as income or conflict, children in shared parenting arrangements do build better bonds with both parents, which is highly beneficial in the long term.
Essentially, shared parenting helps keep both parents in their children’s lives, which is what matters to them. It may not be as easy as a sole custody arrangement, but the focus of any custody decision must remain on the children and not what is most comfortable for the parents. Research shows regardless of the situation, the best arrangement is shared parenting.