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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

Studies favor shared child custody orders with fairly equal time

Federal statistics reportedly show that children with two parents are more likely to be successful students who don’t get in trouble and who stay out of jail. Kids with two active parents are generally more secure, drug and alcohol-free, and not pregnant or depressed. Only a few states, however, strongly push divorcing couples into a shared child custody arrangement that attempts to parse the time relatively equally between the parents each week. In Georgia, the typical arrangement gives primary custody to one parent  and secondary custody to the other, with some shared decision-making.

The Georgia model is typical for most states in the United States. As it turns out in practice, the general format for custody here and in most other states most often favors the mother and assigns the father to a secondary role with far less time in the children’s lives. However, that is not the trend for the future – the overwhelming weight of the research and scientific findings show that children thrive and do better with both parents more equally joining in their lives.

At this time, many states are facing the prospect of legislation that would change the custody preferences to a more equal status for both parents. Based on the research and unanimity of expert opinion, that would truly be more in line with what is in the best interests of the children. In fact, each parent does better in parenting skills when the resources and contribution of the other parent is prominent in the mix.

Consequently, the trend  in child custody orders is toward shared physical custody. That arrangement, perhaps surprisingly, results in a better emotional fit for both parents. Parents who have gone through the shared arrangement generally profess enthusiastic satisfaction for it as a better way of raising he children post-divorce. The bottom line is that children in Georgia and elsewhere grow up with a more complete and healthy emotional perspective when they have the active involvement of both parents in their growing process.

Source:, “Children Need Both Parents Even after Divorce“, Robert Franklin, May 18, 2015