For parents in California who are going through a divorce, the thought of losing time with and access to their children can be the most devastating aspect of the end of a marriage. While almost all people who divorce will have less time with their children after a divorce, joint custody is a growing standard endorsed by many courts as well as child psychologists and development experts. While in the past, some experts argued that infants and toddlers in particular needed to spend most of their time with their mothers and even argued against overnight time with their fathers, this view has long since been discredited.
So long as abuse and neglect are not factors, outcomes for children are generally better when both parents share joint child custody and parenting time. While there may be individual families who need different options for an array of reasons, younger children in particular may benefit from a standard 50/50 joint custody schedule, given their less intense educational program. Under this option, each parent will usually spend a week with the children with the children switching homes on a weekend day.
Over 110 child development experts have endorsed a position favoring shared parenting as the best standard option for most families. Studies show that children in families with joint custody have higher levels of physical and emotional health as well as academic achievement than those in which one parent has sole custody. As joint custody is now generally preferred, this could also point to more serious family problems for children subject to sole custody.
People who are going through a divorce may find themselves struggling with their former partner about how to divide up parenting time. A family law attorney may work with a divorcing spouse to protect the parent-child relationship and achieve a fair settlement on child custody issues.