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Surviving Divorce: Is Joint Custody Right for Your Family?

Surviving Divorce: Is Joint Custody Right for Your Family?

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For the sake of the children, the goals of divorcing parents should be the same: involvement of both parents in the lives of the children and mitigation of conflict between the parents. There are two ways to handle taking care of the kids: joint custody and sole custody. A joint custody solution gives a psychological boost to the parent who would otherwise be the noncustodial parent. But, even in a sole-custody situation, generous time-sharing (combined with open communication between parents) can create an environment where a noncustodial parent is significantly involved in the children’s lives.

Here’s what psychologists have found after long-term studies of families in joint custody and sole custody arrangements:

So, is joint custody right for you? In short, if you can agree to most of the following statements, joint custody could work for your family:

Be honest with yourself. If your feelings don’t allow you to accept these guidelines, then get some counseling. If that doesn’t work, then joint custody is not a good choice for your family.

Deciding between joint custody or sole custody is one of the most important aspects of a divorce, especially for the children. Armed with these guidelines, hopefully it will make choosing between the two less difficult. Good luck!

From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Surviving Divorce, Third Edition, by Pamela Weintraub and Terry Hillman