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Equal parenting time and joint child custody offer clear benefits

Traditionally, divorcing parents in Massachusetts would likely have assumed that Mom would get custody of the kids, while Dad saw them for visits and every other weekend. However, after a number of studies, research indicates that children who spend more even amounts of time with each parent – roughly at least 35 percent – as opposed to living with one and visiting the other, not only have better relationships with each parent but do better psychologically, academically and even socially. With such clear benefits, it's hard to deny the advantages of joint child custody.

Research points to a myriad of positive results from shared parenting for children, including better grades and a lower likelihood to drink, smoke or use drugs. It also seems to decrease susceptibility to depression and anxiety as well as illnesses related to stress. Despite some criticism that this data is biased due to income, that doesn't seem to be the case.

According to one researcher, the shared parenting benefits appear unrelated to parental income. Additionally, even when one parent doesn't initially like the idea of shared parenting, the children still fare better when these parents share physical custody. The same holds true even in some cases where interparental conflict was high.

The general consensus seems to be that, whenever feasible, shared parenting is best for families after divorce. Of course, joint child custody is not always possible in every situation, and each divorce will vary from family to family. Regardless, a Massachusetts family law attorney with experience in cases involving children will be able to offer valuable insight and personalized guidance throughout the divorce process to help parents determine a custody arrangement that is best in their situation.

Source:, "After divorce, shared parenting is best for children's health, development", Richard A. Warshak, May 26, 2017

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