The subject of child custody can be a sensitive topic for divorcing parents. It may be tempting to want to fight for sole custody, but studies show that equal joint custody is usually the best for children.
The courts take into consideration numerous factors when making custody decisions. There are times when factors determine a child should live mainly with one parent, but the courts typically prefer a joint agreement.
Factors involved in custody decisions
When it comes to deciding on a custody agreement, FindLaw states that the preferred method is the parents decide on an arrangement together. If they are unable to, the courts will decide. The main consideration involves what is best for the child, and the judge examines various factors.
When a child is old enough, his or her wishes are one consideration. Other factors include
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s health care, education, nutrition and shelter needs
- The health of parents and child
- The child’s current situation and how change would affect it
- Involvement of each parent in the child’s academic and extracurricular activities
- History of violence or abuse
Unless one parent’s involvement deems to be detrimental, or a parent’s work or travel schedule keeps them away for long periods of time, the judge will often grant joint custody.
Benefits of joint custody
According to Science Daily, children and adolescents tend to do better mentally and behaviorally when they live with each parent a similar amount of time. Studies show that this is also true for young children between the ages of three and five. Not only is their health better, but they have fewer psychological symptoms as well.