Divorce can be difficult enough on the children of your marriage without an ensuing custody battle and separation from one parent. As a parent, it is important to look at the situation from your children’s perspectives. They are not the ones involved in your relationship. They may not understand the reason for the split or why their lives must suddenly change. Agreeing to a joint custody arrangement could ensure a happier and more stable living environment for your kids. It could also help your family avoid a legal battle.
Minimizing the Impact of Divorce
Studies have shown divorce can have a lasting negative impact on children. Children living consistently with their biological parents statistically have improved emotional, physical and academic outcomes. Growing up with both parents can make an important difference in the livelihood of the kids. That being said, the same studies also suggest children have better outcomes with divorce if the alternatives are unresolvable marital differences or violence.
If staying together is not healthy for you or your kids, divorcing with a joint custody agreement could be the best compromise. Your children can benefit from being around two happy parents without the potential drawbacks of losing touch with a mother or father. Joint custody could prevent the negative ramifications of divorce and/or sole custody. It could be the ideal situation for your family if you cannot maintain your marriage.
Growing Up With Both Parents Involved
Joint custody often retains the parental rights of both the mother and the father. Both will be able to make important decisions for the children regarding education, religion and health care. Joint custody also gives both parents the right to cohabitate with children. If you and your spouse work together to achieve joint custody, your children could reap these rewards. Growing up with both parents able to make parenting decisions can show your kids that you both still care about their well-being and that both still play important roles in the children’s lives.
Joint custody can also maintain your kids’ normal standards of living. During a divorce case, the California courts will always do what is best for the children. Their main goal will be to keep children’s lives close to what they were before the divorce. This should be your goal as well. Minimizing the number of changes your children have to deal with during a divorce could reduce the risk of issues such as depression, anxiety and emotional outbursts. Joint custody can keep things as similar as possible for your kids.
Diminishing Feelings of Guilt
Children of divorce often contend with feelings of guilt and shame regarding the noncustodial parent. They may feel like they have abandoned one parent – especially if a mother or father receives full custody. Making a joint custody arrangement work can ease feelings of guilt and help children move forward without feeling bad for one parent or the other.
It is also helpful for children’s well-being if both parents agree not to badmouth each other in front of the kids. Pinning the kids against one spouse can make them feel guilty about their feelings of love for both parents. Do your best not to say anything negative about your ex-spouse in front of the kids. Respect your co-parent’s right to a healthy relationship with your children.
Avoiding a Messy Custody Battle
Finally, joint custody could benefit the kids if you and your spouse can create an arrangement that works for both of you. The California courts allow parents to create their own parenting plans before engaging in a custody battle. If you and your ex-spouse can work together to agree on a joint custody arrangement, you can avoid a difficult custody trial. Agreeing on a parenting plan prevents a judge from making a custody decision for you. Avoiding the courtroom could help minimize the impact of divorce on your kids.