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How shared parenting may benefit children

Pennsylvania parents who are getting a divorce might wonder whether shared parenting might be too disruptive for their children, but research shows that this is not the case. Studies indicate that as long as there are no serious issues such as abuse or neglect, after divorce, children benefit most from joint physical custody.

While it might seem like children would prefer to live in one place rather than rotating in and out of the homes of their parents, one researcher and expert in the field of shared parenting says that interviews with children do not support this. Kids prefer the disruption over living with only one parent. Some parents might think this is fine for older children but wonder if infants and toddlers need the opportunity to bond with the mother. While young children form different types of bonds with each parent, there is no evidence that overnight stays with both parents represent a harmful arrangement for infants.

Parents might also be concerned that a hostile divorce means they will struggle to co-parent without conflict. However, studies show there is more hostility in sole-custody situations. In fact, shared custody has helped reduce conflict between some divorced couples. This appears to be true whether the shared custody is the choice of the parents or has been mandated.

If one parent does have sole custody, the other person usually has visitation rights of some kind. In cases where there might be issues such as abuse, the noncustodial parent might only be allowed supervised visitation. However, outside of these situations, parents may want to consider joint physical custody. This can take a number of different forms. For example, some parents might even keep the family home and allow the children to live there permanently while they take turns rotating in and out of the home. However, this can be expensive and is usually not a long-term solution.

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