Some parents in Texas who are going through a divorce might wonder whether sole or joint custody would be best for their children. Studies have shown that even young children benefit from joint custody arrangements.
The work of one psychologist was endorsed by more than 100 experts after he examined research and many studies on the subject and found that joint custody leads to the best outcomes. Furthermore, he said, current thought in child development does not support the notion that it is unhealthy for infants and toddlers to spend the night with their father instead of their mother. Another researcher examined more than 50 studies and came to similar conclusions. She found that children in joint custody situations had higher rates of academic achievement, physical health, satisfaction with life and self-esteem while those in sole custody situations had more depression, anxiety, behavioral problems and stress-related illnesses. Those in joint custody situations also had better relationships not just with their parents but with others as well. This was even the case in high-conflict divorces. The only exception seemed to be when a parent was neglectful or abusive.
Furthermore, research indicates that sole custody situations can permanently damage a child's relationship with the other parent. Only a third of children in one study who were in sole custody situations saw the other parent more than once a month.
Child custody negotiations may be the most difficult aspect of divorce to negotiate. Parents may be genuinely devoted to the well-being of their children but struggle to believe that their children are better off spending a significant amount of time with the other parent. Parents who have specific concerns, such as when the child will meet a new significant other, can include provisions in the parenting agreement that address these issues. A child custody agreement may also address where the child will spend holidays and vacations.