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An argument for shared custody

Even before meeting their children face to face, Wisconsin parents have their little ones on their minds. When they are only a gleam in a dad's eye and a dream in a mom's heart, children steal the show.

Sometimes, though, calm waters of marital bliss turn choppy and parents instinctively start putting their own needs first, unintentionally allowing their kids' interests to take a back seat. If that continues and the couple decides to part ways, the children may wonder what will happen to them after their parents divorce. Families in this situation should know, no matter how frustrated each spouse is with the other, it is important for the children to maintain a relationship with both.

In fact, the State Bar of Wisconsin explains, "Generally, child custody and placement laws assume that children are healthiest and happiest when they have good relationships with both parents." The Bar also points out the importance of parents handling the custody process well; the more at ease they are in deciding on arrangements, the more comfortable their children will be.

The Institute for Family Studies agrees, sharing research that indicates, "On average, most kids in shared physical custody families have better outcomes than children in sole physical custody." The IFS used a number of measures to determine what qualified as "better outcomes."

Those measures included:

  • Physical health and well-being
  • Emotional well-being
  • Children's relationships with their parents and other adult relatives
  • Academic performance
  • Overall behavior

The IFS pointed out that in situations where a child needs protection from an abusive parent, shared custody is not optimal; however, overall findings seem to indicate joint custody contributes to the well-being of children.

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