The top experts in child development and divorce gathered recently to talk about one thing: the well-being of the children of broken marriages.
While legal presumptions have historically favored sole custody situations during certain time periods and shared parenting during others, shared parenting has come out on top. Absent parental abuse or another reason why one of the parents can't care for the children, it's definitely better for children to be in a shared custody arrangements of some sort.
Out of 52 studies that compared sole custody situations to shared parenting situations, 51 clearly determined that the kids in a shared parenting plan were psychologically, emotionally and socially ahead of the kids in the sole custody of one parent. One study, which included 150,000 teens, determined that shared parenting was literally the next best thing to an intact family when it came to the mental health of the young people involved.
Perhaps even more significantly, studies showed that the benefits for the kids were the same regardless of any other common variables, such as parental education level, race and income -- and it didn't matter whether or not the parents themselves were able to get along. Kids who managed to maintain relationships with both parents -- even if those parents couldn't stand each other -- benefited just as much as kids whose parents were on better terms.
This revelation comes just after a lawsuit forced Nebraska to reveal the training its family court judges get regarding parenting time and custody.
Everything the judges in Nebraska have been (and are being) taught about custody flies directly in the face of the scientific evidence. Among the misguided teachings, judges are instructed that:
- Children under 6 years of age shouldn't even have overnight visits with the parent without primary physical custody.
- High-conflict issues between the parents make a shared parenting agreement undesirable
That information, in effect, explains what family law attorneys have long suspected: Nebraska's judges are deeply biased against shared parenting. Statistically, 88 percent of children from divorced families in Nebraska end up in the custody of a single parent.
If you're involved in a custody dispute, get an experienced family law attorney on your side. He or she can help you present the most recent evidence to support your case. For more information about how our firm might be able to help, please visit our page.