As a parent, you genuinely want what is best for your child. Since there is no guide to raising children, you are probably like most people and are simply doing your very best and hoping for a good outcome. However, some decisions are harder than others, like making child custody decisions during divorce.
You might be thinking about co-parenting. Even if the idea sounds good in theory, if your kids are still quite young then the idea of sharing custody equally could be overwhelming. While it is understandable that you have some concerns, you may be interested in learning about the benefits of co-parenting.
Kids benefit from seeing both parents
A review of 54 studies that compared the outcome of children in shared custody situations versus those in sole physical custody concluded that kids do better with both parents. The studies looked at a number of different factors when concluding these children’s outcomes. Shared parenting showed more favorable outcomes in regards to:
- Academic achievements
- Emotional health
- Overall life satisfaction
- Behavioral problems
- Drug and alcohol use
- Physical health
- Family relationships
If you believe that you and your ex will have ongoing conflicts in the future, you may think that it will overshadow these benefits. These same studies showed that conflict between parents who share custody does not seem to affect children. The benefits of having access to both parents outweigh the potential problems associated with being exposed to high amounts of conflict.
Co-parenting works for babies and toddlers
The bonds that you create with your children early in life are vital. You may worry that sharing custody with your ex will compromise that bond and confuse your child. Spending time away from your child during these ages can also be difficult for you.
However, co-parenting will affect you far more than your baby or toddler. Those same studies showed again and again that children of these ages do just fine in shared custody situations. The studies also confirmed that overnight parenting time does not weaken the bond that parents share with their young children.
It is OK if you are not sure
Like with any parenting decision, you need to consider your children’s best interests before committing to anything. This can be hard during a divorce when you have so many other things on your plate. You may need help to reach the best possible decision.
While co-parenting is appropriate for many families in Colorado, it may not work for everyone. You will need to take your children’s needs into account, as well as the condition and parenting ability of their other parent. This is an understandably sensitive time, but an experienced family law attorney can help explain your options when it comes to child custody.