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Studies find shared custody best for children

In Michigan when a couple with children decides to divorce a primary concern is determining what the custody arrangement will be. New studies have found that barring an abusive situation, joint custody splitting the child's time evenly between parents turns out best for the child.

As Science Daily reports, a study in Sweden found that even very young children benefit from shared custody. Preschool children between the ages of three and five were the subjects of the study and their parents and teachers were given a survey to fill out regarding the children's development. More than 3,000 preschoolers participated in the research, which found that both parents and teachers of students who live exclusively or primarily with one parent reported more psychological and behavioral problems than children who alternated living with both parents or children whose parents were still together. There was no difference in reporting issues from parents who had joint custody or who remained together, but teachers reported slightly more issues for children in shared-custody arrangements.

In another study, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that a researcher from Wake Forest University did a review of more than 40 previous studies on the effects of custody on children and found that above all other factors, shared custody turned out best for the child. The study found that while custody arrangements work to reduce the conflict surrounding the child, even with high-conflict situations between parents, children fared best when they could form a strong relationship with both parents. Children were less affected by their parents' arguments than many previously thought, and the researcher notes that although the conflict often fades with time, the custody arrangements remain intact.

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