Nobody thinks about it on their wedding day, but unfortunately divorce is a common occurrence in today’s society. When you start a family you believe that the two of you will be together forever and that you will raise your children together. Once again, unfortunately it doesn’t always work out like that. Which is why custody of the child or children after divorce can become such a big issue.
If you’re considering a divorce, here are some things you should know about child custody.
Sole custody and joint custody
According to Halse, Havemann & Lloyd, “Sole custody generally refers to having exclusive ‘physical’ and ‘legal’ custody rights regarding the child. This means that the parent granted sole custody shall exclusively be responsible for decisions regarding the upbringing and care of the child.”
Joint custody, on the other hand, means that both parents have legal and physical rights with regards to the child. That means that the child will spend equal amounts of time with both of them and have joint decision-making responsibilities.
Legal preference is no longer given to the mother
In the old days, mothers used to get preferential treatment when it came to custody battles. These days, however, preference isn’t given to either parent unless based on actual merit.
Which is better?
There is no definitive answer with regards to which type of custody is better and there are critics on both sides. On the one hand, sole custody may appear to offer a child a more stable environment and the child will be living in one home and one parent will be making the rules.
However, according to the American Psychological Association, “Robert Bauserman, PhD, of the Baltimore Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, reviewed 33 studies that examined 1,846 sole-custody and 814 joint-custody children. Both groups of children were compared with a sample of 251 kids in intact families. Bauserman found that children in joint-custody arrangements had fewer behavioral and emotional problems, higher self-esteem and better family relationships and school performance compared with those in sole-custody situations. And he found no significant difference in adjustment among children in shared custody and those living in intact family situations. Joint-custody children probably fare better, according to Bauserman, because they have ongoing contact with both parents.”
When it comes to custody, the most important thing you should consider is whether you’re doing the best thing for the child. Is sole custody more stable for your little one, or would they prefer to spend equal amounts of time with each parent. Although you’ll be considering your legal cover and talking to lawyers, at the end of the day it’s best that you try to keep things civil with your ex-partner.