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Research suggests joint custody is better for children

One of the most contentious issues for divorcing couples in New Jersey is often child custody. While there is a general inclination to keep both parents involved in a child's life, some parents may be advised to seek full custody. With instances when it's the mother seeking sole custody of toddlers, she might be advised that splitting time between parents isn't good for children that young. However, there's evidence suggesting otherwise.

Results from scientific studies on child custody that's shared between parents suggests that joint custody should be the norm for parents of children of all ages, including toddlers. A psychologist who published an analysis of previous studies on this topic also notes that warnings against infants and toddlers spending overnight time with fathers aren't in line with current understandings of child development or fully supported. More than a hundred experts around the world endorsed this psychologist's findings.

Another researcher states that children tend to have fewer emotional and behavioral problems that might include depression, anxiety, bullying, acting out, and drug and alcohol abuse when part of a shared custody family. Co-parented children are also likely to have fewer stress-related illnesses and better relationships with parents and other individuals in their lives. A third of children in sole-custody homes have contact with the other parent less than once a month, while others have no contact at all with the non-custodial parent. Since it's usually mothers who are given full custody, damage to the father-child relationship is sometimes irreparable.

If there is a desire to minimize a change in lifestyle and structure for children, a lawyer may attempt to structure a child custody agreement in a way that fairly splits parenting time and obligations. When disputes arise, a lawyer often makes an effort to work out issues without getting state agencies or courts involved. Another reason to hire an attorney for custody issues is due to changes in circumstances. For example, a parent may remarry, get a job with a different work schedule, or move to a different state. With situations like this, it may be possible to alter custody arrangements.

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