Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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A friend says joint child custody never works. Is that true?

Many couples in Massachusetts who are considering divorce may have experienced the never-ending stream of advice from family or friends who also went through divorces. Such advice could cause high levels of anxiety, and couples may be wise to disregard negative opinions as the circumstances of each divorce are unique. Parents who are considering joint child custody should be especially wary of horror stories told by friends and family members as each set of parents should do what is in the best interest of their own children.

Parents who want to maintain loving relationships with their children after divorce are to be commended. The courts also advocate the involvement of both parents in their children's lives. Parents considering joint custody need to understand what the related terms mean and how they translate into real life. For example, joint legal custody gives them the legal rights to make the important decisions together, while joint physical custody allows parents to more equally share time with their children.

Research shows that children who are part of a shared parenting arrangement have academic, emotional, psychological and social advantages. As they reach adolescence, these children reportedly find it easier to adjust to young adulthood than children who did not experience the love and guidance of both parents. The research also shows that parents who share parenting often better manage to maintain a gracious relationship with each other.

Making such an arrangement work may be challenging; thus, the guidance of an experienced family law attorney may be invaluable. Your attorney will be able to act as a mediator to assist you in drafting a shared parenting plan as part of a joint child custody arrangement. Many Massachusetts parents have found that ongoing communication and compromise often leads to amicable relationships between children and both parents after divorces. Our family law website will provide more information about how we can work to minimize the impact of divorce on your family.

Source: chicoer.com, "Ask Mr. Dad: Is going for full custody best for my kids?", Armin Brott McClatchy, Nov. 26, 2014

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