When a couple with children decides to divorce or separate, one of the most critical issues they have to deal with is child custody. Traditionally, child custody was granted to the mother, with the fathers receiving limited visitation rights. However, over the past few years, the legal system has been encouraging shared parenting as a viable custody arrangement. Although shared parenting has gained popularity, it’s essential to weigh the benefits and drawbacks before deciding on the best option for your family.
Benefits of Shared Parenting
1. Promotes the Child’s Well-Being: Children benefit significantly from shared parenting as it provides stability and consistency. They learn to interact equally with both parents without feeling as if they have to choose sides. Children also tend to perform better academically and experience fewer behavioral issues when living with both parents equally.
2. Equitable Time-Sharing: Shared parenting offers a balanced approach to custody. Both parents have equal time with their children and share responsibility for their upbringing. This allows both parents to remain a significant part of the child’s life, minimizing the potential for alienation and resentment.
3. Affordability: With shared parenting, both parents share the financial burden of raising their children, making it more financially feasible for both parties.
Drawbacks of Shared Parenting
1. Difficult Scheduling: In shared parenting, parents must manage a complex schedule, determining who is responsible for what hours, who manages which appointments, and who takes the child to various events. This can be quite complicated, especially when both parents have work commitments.
2. Reduced Parenting Autonomy: Shared parenting requires parents to work together to make decisions regarding their children. This can be challenging, especially when the parents have differing views on parenting style, religion, or education. Some parents are not willing or cannot work in close collaboration on every decision, which can lead to friction.
3. Unintended Consequences: Shared parenting is not always the best option for all families. Children’s age, preferences, and schedules can reflect difficulties with shared parenting. Also, it is vital to assess the domicile of each parent, how close they are to each other, what kind of transportation is available, and which school district the children live in.
Shared parenting arrangements can be beneficial, ensuring that children have continued access to both parents and the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with each. However, there are specific drawbacks such as schedule conflict and autonomous differences, to be thoroughly considered as well. Overall, parents who make the choice for shared parenting must be willing to work together and support each other for shared custody to be a success. When parents cannot collaborate or live far apart, it may be more advantageous for one person to have primary residence, instead of shared custody.