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Shared custody could be in your child's best interests

Child custody is one of the most emotionally difficult matters for divorcing parents to address. While you can more easily replace tangible things such as furniture, investments or even a home as necessary, nothing can ever truly replace time spent with a child.

Past generations of Florida fathers have missed out on valuable time with their children because of cultural presumptions about parenting. Although the past decades experienced marked differences in child custody -- particularly with dads having their kids on certain weekends -- more recent changes give many men the opportunity to be fathers on more than just a part-time basis.

Don't kids need their moms?

Yes -- and they also need their dads. Over 50 studies carried out across years, states and even other countries point to the benefits of shared parenting after divorce. While people often cite these studies when discussing 50/50 custody, the benefits hold true even when custody is 35/65.

Researchers found that custody arrangements that allow for better access to both parents benefit more than their peers in more traditional custody plans. These benefits include:

  • Improved academic performance
  • Lower rates of tobacco, drug and alcohol use
  • Better mental health

Even young children benefit from shared parenting

Some proponents of 50/50 custody arrangements are less enthusiastic when it comes to very young children. However, dads are more involved than ever before. In dual-income households, dads take on 41 percent of newborn and infant care.

When parents of infants and toddlers divorce, many fathers deal with very limited parenting time and bans on overnight infants. Psychologists who have studied the benefits of continued access to parents after divorce believe that barring fathers from caring for their children overnight is nonsensical, especially since these young children often nap at daycare or go to a grandparent's home for sleepovers.

Will shared custody work for my family?

When parents divorce, they must answer an incredibly important question -- what is in my child's best interests? While there are undoubtedly many demonstrable benefits of 50/50 custody, this is not an appropriate choice for every family.

If you are not receiving your fair share of time with you child, you have legal options. Fight for your rights, not only for your sake but for the well-being of your child. 

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