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Is there a 'worst' child custody option?

No two families operate in the exact same ways. Each family must take its unique structure and characteristics into account when determining what choices are healthiest for the family as a whole and the individuals who make up the family unit. As a result, there is no one “best” or “worst” way to approach parenting. Similarly, there is no one “best” or “worst” way to approach child custody in the event that parents opt to go their separate ways. Each child custody agreement must be crafted with any affected child’s best interests in mind.

However, it is worth noting that recent research indicates that children who benefit from a joint custody situation and are allowed to spend time with both of their parents are less stressed generally than children who are the subject of a sole custody situation. According to the study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, children generally benefit from being able to live part-time with each of their parents.

And yet, even this formula does not apply to every family situation. For example, if a child has one devoted and loving parent and one parent who is abusive, it is almost certain that the child will be less stressed living with the non-abusive parent. Any number of factors could lead a parent to believe that his or her child’s best interests will be better served in a sole custody situation.

If you and your child’s other parent are in a position to serve your child’s interests in a joint custody situation, this arrangement may help to save your child considerable stress. But if another arrangement would more fully benefit your child, you may want to discuss pursuing alternate arrangements with your family law attorney.

Source: TIME, “This Divorce Arrangement Stresses Kids Out Most,” Mandy Oaklander, April 27, 2015

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