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Shared child custody often best approach when possible

For many Massachusetts couples considering a divorce, the biggest issue they are faced is how their children will be affected. Child custody tends to be an area of concern for mothers and fathers as both are usually worried about the welfare of the child and about their own parenting time. Though it may be tempting to turn the issue into a battle, studies have shown that everyone comes out better off in the long term when a shared parenting system that works for everyone can be established.

One of the biggest reasons divorce may affect children is that it sometimes means they are, in essence, losing a parent. Far too often, that parent is their father, despite studies establishing the benefits of fathers' involvement in their children's lives. Social science has demonstrated that a shared parenting approach in cases of divorce typically results in the best possible outcome for the children involved.

Despite this evidence, another study demonstrated that mothers were awarded primary or sole custody 75 percent of the time in custody battles. Yet, when single mothers are the sole caregiver, 40 percent of them -- and thus their children -- live in poverty. In addition, federal statistics show that instances of teen suicide, drug abuse, high school dropout rates and more all increase in likelihood for children raised in single parent households.

In divorce proceedings where abuse is not a factor, an equal or near-equal approach to shared parenting is likely the best option. Whether a parent in Massachusetts is considering divorce or has already been through one and is now hoping for a modification of a previous child custody arrangement, a family law attorney can help. A lawyer with experience in divorce and custody cases can offer insight and counsel throughout the proceedings to make sure the entire process goes as smoothly as possible and that the needs of the client and any children involved are well represented.

Source: San Antonio Express-News, "Co-parenting, post-divorce, eases many social ills", Robert Franklin, Jan. 30, 2017

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