When parents in Florida think about divorce, one of the most significant issues they may face is how the separation will affect their relationship with their children. Some parents may fear losing almost all of their time with their children. After all, in the past, many child psychologists and experts believed that children should remain in their mothers' sole custody in the infant and toddler years and even that overnight visits with their fathers could be harmful. However, over the decades, this approach has changed radically; now, shared custody is a preferred option nationwide.
Shared parenting or joint child custody most commonly involves 50/50 shared time with the children. In most cases, children go back and forth between their parents' homes on a weekly basis and fully live at home in both residences. In many cases, joint custody works best for very small children as school plans may make the weekly switch less convenient for older teens. While shared parenting time may not work best for all families, joint custody is highly beneficial so long as there is no abuse or neglect present in the home.
Studies have found that children who grow up with joint custody shared between both parents have better outcomes than those who grow up with one parent having sole custody. These outcomes are measured in terms of academic achievement as well as physical and mental health. Of course, families in which one parent has sole custody may also be more likely to have other serious issues, including a history of abuse or neglect.
Parents going through a divorce can protect their strong bond with their children while moving forward with their lives. A family law attorney may be able to help a divorcing parent reach a positive settlement on related issues, including child custody and child support.