There is no question that going through a divorce can be an extremely emotional process, especially when there are children are involved. It is difficult to separate a family, divide property and create a successful parenting plan. In a number of cases, children are placed in the sole-custody of one parent, while the other parent is given visitation rights. However, studies show the ways in which children may benefit when raised in a joint-custody arrangement.

A study published in the March Journal of Family Psychology looked at kids raised in sole-custody, joint-custody and traditional family situations. Researchers found that kids who lived in joint-custody homes had higher self-esteem, fewer emotional and behavioral problems, better school performance and stronger family relationships. Parents who share custody of the children often have a better relationship, which can be less stressful for the kids.

All signs point to the importance of having both parents in children’s lives. Both mothers and fathers play important roles. While mothers encourage children and provide a safe, secure and nurturing environment, fathers push kids to compete, be independent and reach for achievements. The benefits can be seen in young babies, as infants with involved fathers are shown to be more confident in new situations, emotionally secure and anxious to explore their environment when compared to babies without continued exposure to their dads. Over the long-term, kids who are raised in joint-custody situations get better careers, have stronger marriages and enjoy a better overall well-being.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.