Over the years, studies have shown that shared or joint custody tends to have the biggest benefit for children of divorce. Thus, many parents want to try it out.
But will shared custody work for every family or every situation? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Shared custody does not work for everyone, in spite of the benefits it offers.
Benefits to joint custody
Psychology Today discusses parents sharing custody, or joint custody. They first discuss some of the aforementioned benefits, including an increased sense of stability and protection for the kids of divorce. This in turn allows them to develop healthier coping mechanisms which can last into adulthood.
Children of joint custody also tend to have fewer issues with mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety. They suffer from fewer traumas like post-traumatic stress disorder. They tend to lash out at peers less often and do not have as many issues with authority.
Who it does not work for
However, shared custody largely only works for parents who have at least some ability to cooperate. They do not need to get along or actively enjoy engaging with one another, but they must civilly tolerate one another’s presence.
Thus, families in which one parent faces accusations of abuse, neglect or other, similar issues will likely not benefit from joint custody in the same way. In these situations, the benefits offered by a two-parent household would end up negated or even outweighed by the negatives of having a potentially abusive parent involved in the child’s life.
In the end, it is up to parents to view their situation as carefully and honestly as possible and make a decision from there.