Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Shared child custody, should it be the new normal?

The custody issue is one that plagues many Massachusetts parents when they are going through the divorce process and even afterward. Simply put, child custody is a difficult thing to figure out, especially when it comes to creating terms that everyone is happy with for the long haul. According to a recent study, shared custody agreements -- if appropriate -- will best serve everyone involved. Should such agreements be the new normal?

A professor at Wake Forest University says yes, joint custody should be the new norm. It is believed to best serve children's emotional well-being. According to the National Parents Organization, children in shared custody situations perform better at school, are more optimistic about the future, have fewer teenage pregnancies and are less likely to engage in drug use compared to their counterparts who are in sole custody situations.

Despite the numerous studies that keep coming out on this topic, sole custody is still awarded to mothers in approximately 80 percent of child custody cases. Why? Many courts still believe that this type of arrangement offers the most stability for the affected children and will help reduce parental conflict.

There certainly is a place for sole custody, particularly in cases where abuse, addiction or neglect are issues. However, shared custody also has its place as well. With the assistance of legal counsel, divorcing parents in Massachusetts can analyze their own specific needs and the needs of their children; then, they can pursue the child custody arrangements that best serve their family units.

Source: columbian.com, "New research supports sharing child custody", Gail Rosenblum, Sept. 13, 2017

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