If the marriage between you and your spouse is coming to an end in Florida, the two of you likely are most concerned about the effect your impending divorce will have on your children. Since they love you both and you both reciprocate that love, neither of you wants to assume the role of weekend parent. Have you considered joint custody?
Joint custody slowly is becoming the rule rather than the exception throughout the country. Mothers no longer routinely receive custody of their children in a divorce. Instead, parents, judges, legislators and child psychologists agree that in nearly all situations, children and parents alike get the most benefit from both the mother and the father remaining a big part of their children’s lives.
Recent studies substantiate this prevailing opinion. When researchers tracked children from divorced homes, they found that those whose parents have joint custody reap the following benefits:
- They have less stress, anxiety and depression.
- They get better grades in school.
- They successfully participate in more extracurricular activities.
- They smoke, drink and use illicit drugs less.
- They maintain beneficial relationships with their extended families.
As with any joint venture, your joint custody arrangement will benefit from a set of rules – not for your kids, but for you and your ex-spouse. The most important rule for both of you to follow is that neither of you will “bad mouth” the other in front of your children. It follows that the two of you should never argue or fight in front of your children either. Parental fighting terrifies young kids and puts older ones in fear that they will be caught in the middle and forced to choose sides.
Naturally, your set of rules will be specific to your own situation and likely include such things as schedules, transportation, holidays, vacations, and whatever else the two of you need to agree upon and handle smoothly without conflict. All in all, joint custody may be one of the best things you ever do, not only for your kids, but also for yourself.