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Reasons both parents should share custody of their children

Texas parents who are ending their marriage may not be aware that multiple research studies show that children who have both parents in their lives following a divorce have, on average, better lives than those who only have one parent who has sole custody. Even so, census data reveals that U.S. courts award primary physical custody to the mother in approximately 80 percent of the cases. As such, fathers should continue to fight for joint custody.

Shared parenting, or a flexible parenting schedule where parents spent as close to equal amounts of time with the children as possible, usually benefits the children most. In fact, most child development experts say that shared parenting should be the norm, even for young children. Likewise, there is evidence that sole custody can have devastating impacts on the children, as 63 percent of teen suicides and 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions were sole custody cases.

Shared parenting can also be extremely beneficial for the parents. For example, parents who share parenting duties may have lower costs as they can avoid some legal fees. Further, there are often less conflicts between the parents as both have the opportunity to get the time with their children they so desperately need.

Parents who are going through a child custody dispute may find the court system to be difficult to navigate, especially if one or both parents are seeking sole custody. Unless there is evidence of domestic violence or drug use, a family law attorney may want to assist with negotiating a shared parenting agreement so that both parties have the ability to be involved in raising the children. If a parent does have a history of drug abuse or domestic violence, the attorney may help the other parent seek sole physical custody.

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