Filing for divorce is not an easy decision, especially when there are children involved. Everyone wants to make choices that are in the best interest of the children. In some situations, it can be difficult to determine whether kids would benefit more from a sole-custody or joint-custody living arrangement. Many kids in Missouri and across the U.S. are made to live primarily with one parent, while the non-custodial parent has visitation rights. Studies show, however, that kids who grow up in joint-custody living arrangements, where they spend a significant amount of time with both parents, may benefit the most.

During the study, which was published in the Journal of Family Psychology, researchers found that children who spend ample time with both parents had fewer emotional and behavioral problems and did better in school. Children raised in joint-custody situations developed stronger family relationships and overall, had a higher self-esteem than kids raised in the sole-custody of one parent. As researchers looked at the children’s development long-term, they found that kids in joint-custody households often went achieved higher academic goals, obtained better careers, had stronger marriages and had a stronger social support network.

This may be because parents who share custody of the children often had less conflict with one another, and that positive relationship was beneficial for the children involved. Children who have the love, support and care of both their mother and father may experience advantages over children who do not.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken for legal advice.