Shared custody is less stressful for the kids, but what if it’s not workable?
Research keeps pointing to the same conclusion: Children do better when their divorced parents have shared physical custody. A recent study from Stockholm University also found that living full time with one parent is more stressful for a child than sharing time with both.
But what if shared physical custody isn’t a workable solution for your family? There are numerous reasons why shared physical custody may not be feasible — so it’s smart to understand what you can do to make things easier on your child.
How can you reduce the stress of sole physical custody on your child?
Now that you know the situation could increase stress on your child, you can look for ways to reduce that stress. Here are some things you can do:
- Encourage contact with the other parent: Tools such as Zoom or FaceTime can make a big difference where regular physical time together is not possible. You can encourage these visits under most circumstances, especially if the other parent has to be away for work or military service.
- Create opportunities for contact with relatives: You might not get on with your mother-in-law, but they are still your child’s grandmother. Grandparents, aunts, uncle’s and cousins may have played a considerable role in your child’s life. Divorcing your spouse does not need to mean your child loses a whole side of the family.
- Create opportunities for contact with friends: Perhaps you plan to move and start a new life elsewhere. School friends, street friends and those in clubs and groups are essential to a child. See if there are ways to keep some of these relationships alive. Even paying an occasional visit to catch up could make a big difference. Try to replace lost friendships with new ones by signing your child up for group activities in your new area.
The other factor researchers thought might explain the increased stress was that divorce typically leaves parents with less money. Bringing up a child alone is a significant financial burden. Make sure you receive adequate child support payments. An experienced attorney can help you assert your rights and make sure that your child’s needs are met.