Some people may find filing for divorce to be an overwhelming process. Not only are there strong emotions involved, but there are a myriad of issues that must be negotiated before the divorce decree is finalized. One of the most difficult issues to tackle is child custody.

In a sole-custody arrangement, one parent maintains primary custody of the children, while the non-custodial parent has scheduled visitation. Traditionally, parents thought this may be best for children, as it provides stability and a routine schedule. However, multiple studies show the many benefits children experience when they spend a significant amount of time with both parents.

Joint-custody situations involve parents splitting time with kids. This requires parents to live close in proximity to one another. Many parents who share children in this type of manner are on good terms and this positivity makes matters less stressful for the children.

A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology looked at kids in traditional families, joint-custody arrangements and sole-custody living situations. Researchers found that children in joint-custody situations had the following:

  • Better grades in school
  • Stronger family relationships
  • Fewer emotional problems
  • Less behavioral issues

Over time, kids who have consistent exposure to both parents have longer lasting marriages, more successful careers and a better quality of life than those who lived in a sole-custody situation.

Each parent gives kids qualities and traits that the other does not. For instance, mothers provide a nurturing, loving and safe environment, while fathers encourage kids to explore their surroundings and accept new challenges.