Child custody is often a complicated matter for Texas parents going through divorce, and one 2015 study sheds light on a common misconception about custody arrangements. While common opinion holds that children who are subjected to joint-custody arrangements face increased stress due to regular travel between homes, evidence shows the opposite. Children living with only one custodial parent fare significantly worse in terms of psychosomatic problems than their counterparts who live separately with both parents.
In a study of 150,000 Swedish children in 6th and 9th grade, researchers sought to determine if children who lived part time with each parent experienced greater stress than children living in a single home. The results of the study showed that girls were more likely to develop psychosomatic problems from divorce than boys were, but all children benefited from having access to both parents. While 40 percent of divorced Swedish parents shared custody of their children in 2010, only 20 percent of American families had a joint-custody arrangement.
Researchers suggest that there are significant benefits in allowing children access to both parents, even on a part-time basis. Children who live with only one parent may not have access to the other parent's emotional, financial and social resources. Children living in both homes seemed to benefit more from the ability to experience both sets of resources than they were disadvantaged by the divided living arrangement.
Divorcing parents may face numerous considerations in the custody arrangement process. A child custody lawyer may be able to facilitate a custody agreement that works in the best interests of the child while mitigating some issues, such as relocation. Custody modification may also be a possibility for existing custody arrangements that are not working for the children or parents involved.