As a North Carolina parent, your children are your biggest concern if you and your spouse are contemplating divorce. In all likelihood, they also are your spouse’s biggest concern. Neither of you wants to be the absentee parent because both of you love being a big part of your children’s lives. If this situation describes yours, you would do well to consider a post-divorce joint custody arrangement.
Opinions regarding joint custody have changed dramatically over the years. Where once it was almost a rule that mothers got custody of children, particularly young ones, most judges, child psychologists, legislators and parents now believe that joint custody usually is better for not only the kids, but also the parents.
Good things result from joint custody
Recent studies back up this changed opinion. When children with divorced parents maintain a close relationship with both their mother and father after a divorce, the following good things happen:
- Their anxiety, stress and depression levels decrease.
- Their grades are better at school.
- They enjoy their extracurricular activities more.
- Their likelihood of smoking, drinking and using drugs decreases.
- Their family and extended family relationships thrive.
In most post-divorce joint custody situations, it is not the children who need rules. The parents need them. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse commit to joint custody, experts highly recommend that you agree on a set of written rules to ensure the success of your literal joint venture.
Rule number one is that neither of you will disparage the other in front of your children. Nor will you fight or argue in front of them. Your children crave stability and harmony, especially when it comes to their parents. After all, they love both of you, and the thought of maybe having to take sides fills them with fear and distress. So if and when a dispute arises, as it surely will, keep your adult conversations and arguments for adult ears only.
Joint custody can give you as many benefits as it does your children. Chief among them is the joy and satisfaction you will feel as you watch your kids grow up happy and healthy, both physically and psychologically. Sparing your children the trauma of growing up in a truly broken home is the best thing you can do for them.