Joint physical custody is better for the children in a divorce than sole physical custody, according to a 2018 report in the Journal of Child Custody. The researcher combined information from 60 different studies carried out on the topic.
Judges prefer to award shared physical custody, rather than giving to just one parent. Only in exceptional circumstances will they award sole custody. These could include one parent being abusive toward the child or being incapable of parenting due to drug or drink addiction.
The studies looked at a variety of factors: academic performance, relationships with parents and grandparents, and physical, emotional and behavioral well-being. While there was a slight variance between studies, overall, it was clear that the best option for the children is shared physical custody. It even increased the family income, which makes sense when you consider it allows both parents to work and can offer flexibility when working overtime or taking a work trip away.
Being a parent is a huge responsibility. It can be time-consuming, draining, costly, and mentally and emotionally challenging. Sharing the role gives each parent a break when they need it, it gives them time to have their own life and it reduces the burden.
Splitting physical custody gives children the benefit of maintaining contact with and feeling loved by both the people they grew up with. They can take advantage of two different points of view and two different skill sets to learn from. It means they still have two parents, even if they do not live together.