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New research: Kids benefit from equal time with both mom and dad

Twenty or 30 years ago, the idea of shared physical custody was virtually unheard of. Family law courts in New Jersey and elsewhere traditionally awarded full physical custody to the mother for two primary reasons. First, they believed that the mother should naturally fulfill the role of caretaker. Second, they believed that children would have to endure an argumentative environment full of conflict if both parents needed to work together.

Courts are less gender-biased these days, and are more likely to award fathers child custody too -- especially if the fathers can show that they were involved in child-rearing activities before the separation. However, the notion of sparing children a conflictive and argumentative environment persists. In cases where the parents can't get along, New Jersey courts are more likely to award full custody to one or the other parent. That parent is often the mother because mothers tend to perform more child-rearing activities than fathers.

In spite of this preference for only awarding child custody in cases where the parents can get along, recent psychological research shows a different kind of reality. In fact, research shows that children benefit so much from having equal contact with both mom and dad, that the positives outweigh any potentially negative effects of being involved with two parents who don't get along.

According to a child psychology professor from Wake Forest University, "Shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children." Do you and your soon-to-be ex agree? If you're hoping for shared custody arrangements with your ex-spouse, be sure to discuss the possibility with your New Jersey child custody attorney.

Source: GoErie.com, "New research supports shared custody for children in divorce," Gail Rosenblum, Sep. 07, 2017

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