There are many happy couples in the Fort Worth, Texas, and Tarrant, Texas, areas, living together and cooperatively co-parenting their daughters and sons. However, some parents part ways, no longer live together and are faced with needing to resolve matters of child custody. Working out those matters in a constructive manner is imperative for the emotional health of the children.
Many experts advocate for shared parenting arrangements unless one parent, by action or inaction, would be a potential source of harm. In other situations, though, shared parenting is best, as a Wake Forest University professor recently affirmed.
After all, daughters and sons, including the very youngest of them, have relationships with both of their parents. They need time on a regular, consistent basis to further develop those relationships. Not getting that time with one parent can damage the children, as they miss what that parent can provide and the children can feel abandoned.
Despite that, and the fact that it is the 21st century, many family court judges still hand full custody of a couple's children to the female parent based on antiquated stereotypes. A claim is that this systemically perpetuating the inequity of default maternal custody is stressful for the children due to possible conflict between the separated parents.
Of course, that claim discounts the stress and damage to self-esteem and identity that many children experience when prevented from spending time with their father on a frequent basis. When the father is only afforded visitation, that may mean that the children only get to be with him for one short period each week.
According to a study conducted by the Wake Forest University professor, the conflict claim also incentivizes mothers to exaggerate conflict in order to get full custody. In view of that, and the importance of both father-daughter and father-son relationships, she recommends cooperative co-parenting arrangements between parents who are no longer together. Those agreements are best when they formally address specific details, from parenting time to dispute resolution. You can learn more about the benefits of co-parenting arrangements from your divorce attorney.
Source: Boston Herald, "Shared parenting improves divorce outcome for kids," Gail Rosenblum, Sep. 10, 2017