One of the hardest issues to work through in a divorce is often child custody issues. It is hard enough for couples to split up, but the thought of not having their child living with them day in and day out can be a devastating thought for any parent. When it comes to deciding child custody, family courts use the best interest of the child doctrine. It is also what most parents want for their child, as well.
Until recently, most child custody cases had the child living primarily with one parent, with every other weekend visits with the other. This is referred to as sole custody. However, multiple studies have shown that it is much healthier for children if both parents have an equal role in raising them. This is called shared or joint custody.
It is important to note that there are some situations where a shared custody arrangement would not be in the best interest of the child. These include:
• If the parent has substance abuse issues
• If the parent has mental health issues
• If the parent has a history of child abuse and/or neglect
• If the parent has a history of sexual abuse
• If the parent has a history of domestic abuse
In these situations, the courts will likely issue a sole custody decision, with limited, supervised, or no visitation for the non-custodial parent.
Below, a family lawyer can discuss what the benefits can be in a shared custody agreement. For more detailed information, contact The Mckinney Law Group to find out what type of custody arrangement would be best in your situation.
Co-Parenting Benefits: In a sole custody arrangement, all of the child’s needs are met primarily by one parent. This can be stressful for that parent, shouldering all the responsibility on their own. In a shared custody arrangement, both of the parents share parenting responsibilities and providing for the child, such as medical appointments, school transportation, homework, extracurricular activities, and more.
Financial Benefits: When a parent has sole custody, they often depend on court-ordered child support the non-custodial parent is supposed to pay in order to provide for the child’s needs. However, many non-custodial parents fail to meet their financial obligations to their child. In fact, according to national statistics, 55 percent of non-custodial parents fail to pay their child support per court order. In a shared custody arrangement, both parents are financially responsible for meeting the child’s needs.
Relationship Benefits: With almost half of all marriages ending in divorce, there is a multitude of empirical evidence of the negative emotional impact divorce can have on children when the also impacts the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent. Children benefit greatly when both of their parents are fully involved in their life. If a parent believes that the other parent can responsibly parent their child, then it may be in everyone’s best interest – especially their child’s – to work out a shared custody agreement.