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Is shared parenting best following divorce?

A parent's love for their child is often unexplainable. Nothing can change this, not even an event such as divorce. But what divorce can do is alter the time spent with a child. Although the quantity of time is impacted, this does not impact the quality of their relationship. It is necessary in these situations to reach a custody agreement that works for everyone involved. While it may not look like the parenting plan that you had hoped, if it fulfills the best interests of the child standard, it is likely the proper order at this time.

While parents will continue to have reasons to fight for sole custody, divorcing parents also have reasons to fight for shared parenting. This custody arrangement has been growing in trend, and for a good reason. There are two factors that ensure a healthy and happy future for a child after the divorce process, and this is having both their mother and father in their life.

While it is often argued that shared parenting should be the norm, statistics indicate that mothers are still awarded full physical custody of their children roughly 80 percent of the time a court-ordered custody plan is put in place. One major reason for this is the long-standing belief that the conflicts of the divorce will cause too much stress for the children. And because the mother is looked at as the person who provided stability for their child, a mother is frequently awarded sole custody.

A current study found that there is no link between high conflict and poor co-parenting with poor outcomes for the children. This study also found that the quality of the relationship a child has and maintains with their mother and father does trump everything else on the table. Parents may not get along, but child custody is not about them but rather their children. Meeting the best interests of their child means looking to them for answers. And if a shared parenting relationship is what suits them best, parents will be able to carry this out even if they do not get along.

Working towards a fair and amicable child custody agreement can be challenging. There is a lot of give and take in these discussions, which can make it difficult to agree to. However, when parents are aware of their rights and what factors and considered when meeting the best interests of their child, this could help them achieve a workable custody plan.

Source:, "Who gets the kids? New study supports shared custody for children in divorce," Gail Rosenblum, Oct. 11, 2017

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