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Shared parenting is best for children

Virginia parents of young children might find themselves trying to sort out child custody issues once a separation or divorce occurs. While both parents play similar roles in modern times, courts still favor mothers when awarding physical custody. There are some reasons dads should not be discouraged by this fact, however.

U.S. Census data shows that moms have primary physical custody in more than 80 percent of cases, but this does not mean it is better for a child to live with a mother than a father. Several studies seem to illustrate that shared parenting is the best model as both parents should have a role in a child's life. Child development experts think most children should spend roughly an equal amount of time with each parent. Shared custody results in less stress for children, and children raised by a single parent have higher rates of suicide, dropping out from school, running away and behavioral disorders.

Parents who can create a flexible custody arrangement without court intervention save money by avoiding the legal fees associated with litigation. This may also lead to less fighting, which makes shared custody less contentious. This provides children with a stable environment and gives parents more money to spend on caring for a child. Shared parenting plans are slowly becoming more popular, and legislation exists in many states that mandates shared parenting. Shared parenting is the norm in other countries like Australia and Sweden as well.

Those who are having custody issues might first like to try mediation or negotiation before having a judge make determinations instead. Parenting plans created without court intervention are often more flexible. Many courts do feel that a child should have a relationship with both parents unless there are concerns over substance abuse or domestic violence on the part of one of the parents.

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