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Children are less stressed with shared child custody pacts

The latest research on the well-being of the children of divorced parents reveals that shared custody or something similar may be best for the emotional stability and happiness of the children. A new study published in a social sciences journal concludes that children do better when they have a solid bonding relationship with both parents. That finding tends to challenge the current practice in this country, including to some extent in Georgia, of having a child custody arrangement with a primary custodial parent, and a non-custodial parent who gets relatively little time with the children.

It has been a widely held belief that children who are in joint custody situations are more stressed due to the constant moving back and forth. The researchers studied the psychosomatic health problems of 150,000 children in 6th and 9th grades. The study looked at their sleep problems, headaches, lack of concentration, appetite and other key indicators of stress.

The study was conducted by researchers in Stockholm, Sweden, and the information was derived from national data bases. It reveals that children living with both parents in a divorce situation had fewer health problems than kids living with just one parent. This gives credibility to those who advocate joint or shared custody arrangements.

 A spokesperson for the National Parent Association, a group in the United States, agreed with the study, and added that the overwhelming conclusion of all of the research on the issue is that shared parenting is best. Caution with terminology should, however, be exercised. Two parents may share substantial time with the children even in some of the traditional "primary custodial" agreements.

In fact, there are many variations of child custody arrangements in Georgia and elsewhere, and it is best not to get bogged down in semantics. In other words, a joint or shared custody agreement does not have to split the time between the parents on an exact 50-50 basis. It could be 60-40 or anything else. The main point of the research study is that it is better for a child to spend substantial time with each parent instead of carrying the regret and frustration of having lost the loving support of a parent.

Source: Time, "Divorced Parents and Child Custody: Less Child Stress in Joint Custody", Mandy Oaklander, April 27, 2015

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