If there’s going to be one detail that parents struggle with when they divorce, then child custody is generally going to be at the top of that list.
Parents often spend considerable time pondering how they should share custody of their child. The authors of a 2017 Psychology, Public Policy and Law study concluded that it’s critical for young kids to spend equal time with both parents after those parents divorce.
The evolution in perspectives on child custody over the years
Child psychologists once believed that any extended time children spent with their dads during their early years would be detrimental to the strong bonds that the kids shared with their moms.
Arizona State University researchers who authored this latest study interviewed more than 100 college students with parents who’d split before they turned three years of age. The researchers inquired about the strength of these students’ relationships with both parents. They also interviewed the parents to see what impact their split had on their kids during their early years.
The researchers concluded that the infants and toddlers who spent extended time with their dads didn’t experience a weakened bond with their mothers. The study’s authors determined that children instead appeared to benefit from spending equal time with both parents.
Researchers found that the most critical time for kids to spend time with both parents is starting at two years of age. They also determined that it was vital for children to get in their overnight visits. If they didn’t, then they couldn’t just be made up. They decided that overnights are vital to strengthening the parent-child bond.
The researchers also concluded that equal parenting time isn’t just beneficial for the child but the parents, too. They said that it helps single moms better manage their stress and aids dads in becoming better, more confident parents.
Reaching an agreement about parenting time with your ex
Child custody issues can significantly delay divorce settlements. The longer cases drag out, the more apt it is to leave a lasting impression on you and your child’s mental health.
An attorney can help you and your ex broker a child custody agreement that protects your child’s best interests if you find it challenging to come up with a parenting plan among yourselves.