Some divorcing parents in Alabama might wonder what type of custody arrangement is best for children. Barring circumstances such as abuse or neglect, most studies have found that children fare significantly better under joint custody. This seems to be the case even when they are toddlers or infants.
Researching dozens of studies, one psychologist found that not only did children benefit from shared custody arrangements but that based on contemporary child development ideas, there is no harm to having toddlers and infants spend the night with the father. More than 100 experts in the field endorsed these findings. Another researcher examined the differences between kids in sole and joint custody scenarios. She found that children in sole custody arrangements were more likely to suffer from stress-related illnesses, depression, anxiety and behavioral problems. Children in a joint custody arrangement had higher academic achievement, better physical and emotional health and better relationships with their parents and others. This held true even in high-conflict divorces and when the children were very young.
Furthermore, it can actually harm a parent-child relationship if one parent has sole custody. According to one study, only about 33 percent of children in sole custody arrangements saw the other parent more than once per month. Another 33 percent had no contact.
Parents can reach an agreement on child custody and visitation in negotiations, or they may have to go to litigation. If both parents are fighting for sole custody, the judge might still decide to assign joint custody. Courts make the decision that is in the child's best interests, and this often involves taking a number of factors under consideration. With help from legal counsel, however, parents may avoid litigation and create a parenting agreement that addresses any custody concerns.