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How children benefit from joint custody arrangements

Adjusting to life after divorce can be tough for everyone involved, and this can prove especially true if, in addition to dealing with divorce, a parent is also adapting to a joint custody arrangement. It makes sense that parents might feel sad, lonely and even depressed as they learn to live at least part-time without their child under the same roof. However, it may make the transition easier if they learn to recognize the ways in which their arrangement benefits their child.

According to Time, having a joint custody arrangement can make a child better off physically and emotionally than having that child live exclusively with one parent or the other.

Benefits of shared custody

According to a recent survey that involved just under 150,000 12- to 15-year-olds, kids who spend time living in the homes of both their parents were substantially less likely to experience certain health and emotional problems than those who lived with just one parent. For example, children whose parents had joint custody arrangements were less likely to suffer headaches, stomachaches and similar health issues.

They were also less likely to struggle with mental or emotional issues, such as difficulty concentrating or sleeping, and they were more likely than kids who spent time living with both parents to report feeling dizzy, tense or sad.

Possible causes

As for what causes the disparity between the well-being of children whose parents shared custody and those who lived with just one parent, there are several likely contributors. First, parents who have their children live with them, at least some of the time, are more likely to be fully engaged parents, meaning they tend to play more active roles in the lives of their children. Additionally, kids who spend time living in the homes of both parents are more likely to have better access to resources, whether material, familial or others.

While joint custody arrangements offer many benefits for children, they are not always the best solution for all divorced or separated families.

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