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Research supports shared child custody approach

Faced with the need to divide parenting time and responsibilities, many Colorado parents are unsure where to begin. No loving parent wants to be separated from his or her child for any period of time, much less to assume the role of part-time parent. Fortunately, there are a number of different options available for parents who are willing to work toward a solution that is in the best interests of all parties. Shared child custody is one of those options and is an approach that is supported by a significant body of research.

Under a shared custody approach, parents commit to reaching a custody agreement under which a child or children are able to spend significant time with both parents. This is a significant departure from the approach used in past decades, where mothers often retained the bulk of child custody rights, and fathers were relegated to the role of occasional visitor. Shared custody promotes and maintains a strong bond between each child and both parents.

According to research, children who spend at least 35 percent of their time with each parent have stronger relationships with both their mother and father. They are also statistically less likely to abuse alcohol, use drugs, smoke or engage in other risky behaviors. Best of all, the research shows that this custody approach yields children who are at a lower risk of depression, anxiety and other stress-related disorders.

For Colorado parents, the research surrounding the benefits of shared child custody may make it easier to reach a custody determination. Faced with multiple studies that promote the idea of maintaining a strong parental bond with both a mother and father, some parents are better able to see beyond their own wants and needs and look toward the best interests of their shared children. All parents naturally want what is best for their kids, and in many scenarios, shared child custody offers a great solution.

Source:, "After divorce, shared parenting is best for children's health and development", Richard A. Warshak, May 26, 2017

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