Even though the benefits of shared parenting arrangements are known, physical custody of the children is still awarded to the mother most of the time in divorce courts in Florida and around the country. While this is often done to give the children stability, studies show that the quality of child-parent relationships is what benefits the children the most.
One of the main reasons mothers are still usually awarded physical custody is the belief that the conflict that often remains between just-divorced parents may be too stressful for the children. In some cases, shared parenting agreements puts children right in the middle between two parents who may still be arguing about divorce issues. As such, the court gives custody to mom so that the children have stability.
According to a study, however, the role that potential conflict may not be as big as courts believe. Further, the conflicts tend to subside after some time as both parents and the children adapt to a new living situation. The initial custody decisions that were made during the divorce, however, can last until the children are ready to leave home. Other studies show that children who spend time with both parents do considerably better than those who only have a relationship with one parent, particularly when it comes to school and being optimistic about their future.
During a child custody dispute, stress and conflict can make it difficult for parents to come to an accord. However, unless one parent is harmful to the children or has issues with substance abuse, a family law attorney could work on behalf of one party to draft an agreement and negotiate with the other party to give the kids a chance to have both parents in their lives.