When married parents decide to call it quits, their main focus is likely on their children and how this life event will impact not only their children but also their relationship with them. Because of that, child custody disputes tend to arise. While this is a common divorce issue parents face, it is not an easy one to work through. Parents not only have to think about their needs and how their life accommodates their child or children, but they also need to focus on the best interests of their child. The best interest standard is not always completely clear, as many factors involved in the process can impact the resulting order.
Can the age of a child impact a custody arrangement? The age of the child can be a major factor in a custody decision as his or her input could be utilized in court. With regards to preschool aged children, they are too young to voice an opinion about which parent they want to be with; however, it is considered to be a very impressionable age.
A current study focused on the psychological symptoms divorce had on preschool aged children. This study discovered that those children in a 50-50 custody arrangement had fewer psychological symptoms in comparison to those living primarily or entirely with one parent. In fact, it was found that children living alternately with parents show less behavioral problems as well.
With an increase in joint custody arrangements, preschool teachers are noting the reduced effects caused by the custody arrangement. This is due to the child maintaining a relationship with both parents. This study is the first of its kind; thus, it does not evidence causality. Nonetheless, it does show how younger and adolescent children can benefit from a joint custody arrangement.
If you are finding it challenging to reach a custody order, it is vital that you are aware of your options and rights. This not only helps you understand the decision made in your matter but also helps you take action if you do not agree with the resulting custody order.
Source: Psychcentral.com, “50-50 Joint Custody May Be Best For Preschool Kids of Divorce,” Janice Wood, Sept. 9, 2017