Custody arrangement may have an effect on child's wellbeing

The debate around which custody arrangement is best keeps raging thanks to a new study in support of joint custody.

Recent study says joint custody may be better than sole custody for children

A recent study is adding to the already contentious debate about what kind of custody arrangement is in a child's best interests. The study says that joint-custody arrangements, as opposed to sole-custody arrangements, tend to lead to fewer psychosomatic health problems in children, according to Time. The results come as families and commentators continue to argue about whether legislation should be based to encourage certain child custody arrangements. At the same time, courts in Colorado and the United States have largely been moving away from sole-custody arrangements in recent years and towards joint custody.

Fewer problems in joint custody

The study was conducted by researchers in Sweden on 150,000 children in sixth and ninth grades. The children's wellbeing was determined based on a number of factors, including sleep problems, headaches, negative feelings, appetite loss, and stomach aches. Children in four different family environments were analyzed: those raised by one parent, those raised mostly by one parent, children raised under joint custody, and children who remained in nuclear families.

According to Medical News Today, the study generally found that children raised in nuclear families suffered from the fewest psychosomatic health problems while those raised under sole custody suffered from the worst problems. The surprising news was that children raised in joint custody suffered from the fewest problems of all those children raised by divorced or separated parents. Only 14 percent of children under joint custody suffered from headaches, for example, which was just a bit higher than the 12 percent of children in nuclear families. In contrast, 19 percent of children raised by one parent reported suffering from headaches.

Is joint custody always best?

The study certainly suggests that joint custody tends to be the most beneficial custody arrangement for children, but it is important to keep the study in perspective. The results were, after all, a surprise to many family and child experts, who have long cautioned that children who move back and forth between two parents are likely to suffer from increased stress because of the relative lack of stability in their lives. Of course, it should also go without saying that in some cases sole custody may very well be in a child's best interests.

Nonetheless, the findings do support a move away from sole custody that was otherwise largely favored by courts in the past. Today, courts in Colorado often encourage families to devise a custody arrangement that splits parenting time and responsibilities roughly equally between both parents. While there is always room for exceptions to be made, the general movement in family law today towards shared parenting appears to be supported by this latest study.

Family law concerns

Because every family is unique, it is important when dealing with difficult child custody questions to approach a family law attorney who will take an individualized approach to every client. An experienced and dedicated attorney can help families navigate through the often difficult problems raised by a divorce so that their child's best interests are put first and foremost.

Keywords: child's wellbeing, Custody arrangement, child custody, joint-custody arrangements, sole-custody arrangements, Family law concerns, Children's health, responsibilities