Research on what custody outcome is best for kids post-divorce

Family law is a legal universe replete with ongoing studies addressing wide-ranging considerations and topics of concern, and it is immediately understandable why that is the case.

After all, what other realm of law so centrally involves human feelings and interactions at the most intimate and personal level?

Certainly not intellectual property. Not municipal zoning. Not the esoteric notions sometimes encompassed in tort and contractual theories.

Family law involves … families. Those are organic units, with mom, dads and the children they love.

One focal point in divorce that is often especially centered on emotions and feelings is child custody. Even parents who readily engage in civil combat over things like asset division and spousal support often coalesce in agreement that the best interests of the children truly need to be promoted following divorce.

As regards custody, what are those best interests?

One long-tenured view held by many is that a static and stable living arrangement marked by the kids residing with one parent in one home, with the other parent having visitation rights, is optimal for children.

That view is certainly not unchallenged, though, with a recent study from Sweden weighing in with this conclusion, based on scrutiny of about 150,000 children of divorced parents: Empirical evidence suggests that shuffling back and forth to the separate homes of each parent with some regularity -- even if such scheduling results in a rather frenetic and less than predictable lifestyle -- may be healthier for kids in most instances than simply staying in the home of one designated custodial parent.

That is, two-parent households -- joint custody -- were found to better alleviate children's stresses and promote their well-being.

Although any such study is of course limited and cannot exhaustively examine every relevant variable, the findings are nonetheless interesting and imply much about the importance of children's regular contacts with both parents, even if back-and-forth movements can sometimes make life seem a bit frantic.

Questions and concerns regarding any aspect of child custody can be candidly and confidentially discussed with a proven family law attorney.