Shared child custody might have benefits for children

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Monday, September 11, 2017.

Making the decision to end a marriage is rarely easy. Couples often worry over the financial and emotional implications of divorce, and for parents in Missouri, this matter can be further complicated by child custody matters. Although no two families are the same, a recent study indicated that children might fare better when they have equal access to both of their parents.

This is not the first time that a study has focused on the psychological impact of sole custody agreements. However, this study aimed to understand how stress plays a role in this issue. The results demonstrated that children in sole physical custody arrangements feel a significantly increased level of stress, even more so than children who are part of shared custody arrangements with parents who do not get along. Researchers believe this to be caused in part because children who are in the sole physical custody of only one parent tend to lose access to extended relatives and friends.

Prioritizing shared physical custody — which is granting children approximately equal time with both parents — has not been without criticism. Opposing studies claim that shared custody creates an environment in which children must adapt to two different lives. However, most of these studies do not have hard, empirical data to back up their claims, and instead rely on potential outcomes that have not been studied in real-world situations.

It is not uncommon for parents to remain in an unhealthy marriage out of fear that they will lose access to their child. While joint legal custody allows both parents to continue making active decisions for children, it is not the same as shared physical custody. Missouri parents who are concerned about the differences between legal and physical custody and how it will affect their child custody agreement are well advised to seek the guidance of a experienced legal counsel.

Source:, “Shared custody is usually less stressful for children, study shows“, Alexandra Gerea, Sept. 1, 2017

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