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How shared parenting can benefit children, parents

Georgia parents who are getting a divorce might want to consider shared parenting as a custody option. In around 80 percent of cases, mothers still get custody, but this can be a poor arrangement for the mothers, the fathers and the children. In a shared parenting arrangement, a child spends equal or nearly equal time with each parent.

Having full custody may result in a mother being placed in a homemaker position rather than pursuing a career that interests her. The father, on the other hand, may end up simply being a breadwinner who pays support and sees his children occasionally. Meanwhile, studies show that children benefit from contact with both parents. At the 2017 Conference on Shared Parenting in Boston, research was presented to support this idea. Even for young children, research has shown this model works better.

In some countries, such as Sweden, shared parenting is the usual arrangement. U.S. states are increasingly adopting a similar model. Missouri and Kentucky have both passed laws encouraging shared parenting, and about 25 other states have considered similar legislation.

Child custody decisions can be the most difficult part of a divorce. However, if parents focus on the best interests of the child as a judge would do, they may agree that shared parenting is a good option. Parents might be able to negotiate this custody agreement with the assistance of their attorneys instead of going to court. There are several other creative options that might help children adjust to a divorce. For example, some parents take turns living in the family home while the children remain there full-time. However, even if shared parenting means children must shuttle back and forth between residences, studies show this potential instability is balanced by the benefits of being able to build a strong relationship with both parents.

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