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Why joint custody might be the best arrangement

When New Jersey parents decide to divorce, they may wonder what kind of custody arrangement would best suit their children. Research shows that in the absence of serious problems such as abuse, the best solution for children is joint custody.

Parents might be concerned that joint custody will not work for them if they are experiencing a lot of conflict. However, research shows that joint custody arrangements may actually lead to less conflict between parents even when the joint custody is not the parents' decision but is mandated. Furthermore, when children build bonds with both parents, this can help insulate them from conflict between the parents.

Another concern for parents might be the instability for children of moving back and forth between households. Parents might assume that children would prefer to have one home. However, in interviews, children usually say they prefer moving from one parent's house to the other over not being able to spend much time with one parent.

The child's age might be another concern for the parents. For example, they might assume that an infant should not stay overnight away from the mother. However, studies indicate that infants bond with both parents, albeit in different ways, and that infants and toddlers can spend the night with one or the other parent just as older children do.

Parents may be able to negotiate a child custody arrangement even in a high-conflict divorce. Their attorneys may be able to assist them in these negotiations. There may be a few situations in which joint custody is not possible. For example, if one parent is frequently away for work or deployed with the military, the couple might work out an arrangement in which that parent has visitation rights but not joint custody. However, if circumstances change, they might want to revise the arrangement and consider joint custody.

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