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Research strongly supports joint custody for young children

When parents in Colorado separate, the issue of child custody could create conflict. For example, a mother might seek sole physical custody and justify the request with the belief in traditional cultural norms. Some say that overnight care provided to toddlers by fathers could negatively influence the children's mental health. However, studies from psychologists analyzing the differences between sole custody and joint custody have firmly discredited this notion.

One landmark study endorsed by 110 child development experts around the world documented the advantages that children gained from joint custody. The psychologist concluded that all children, including very young ones, benefited from shared parenting.

Another researcher collected the findings from 54 studies that compared the outcomes of sole custody and joint custody. The data strongly favored joint custody because children cared for by both parents did better at school, had better health and experienced fewer behavioral problems. The children also enjoyed stronger parental relationships.

When a parent faces the prospect of losing access to their children, legal support could help them pursue a fair child custody arrangement. An attorney could emphasize the person's parental rights during negotiations with the other parent. If these discussions do not produce an agreement, then an attorney could petition a court to assign shared custody. An attorney could support the request with documentation about the client's ability to provide a safe home. Testimony from witnesses or family photos that illustrate the person's existing relationship with children might also be presented to demonstrate how maintaining the relationship could be in the children's best interest.

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