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Can shared child custody ensure strong parent-child relationship?

What is the secret to ensuring that children remain happy and healthy throughout and after a Utah divorce? It is often reported that the growing trend in family courts around the country is to now favor awarding shared or joined child custody -- unless there is a need to protect a child from neglect or abuse by a parent. However, that idea was dispelled by a professor of adolescent and educational psychology at a university in another state.

This notion was re-examined by the professor, who noted that it is not easy to believe that the courts still favor mothers despite so many studies indicating the advantages of shared parenting. She says statistics show that over 80 percent of all custody cases decided by courts nationwide award full physical custody of children to mothers. The professor's study indicates that the only two factors that are required for happy, well-adjusted children are Mom and Dad.

Her research shows that judges still adhere to the long-held belief that children are stressed and damaged by conflicting parents. Many judges apparently believe that conflict, which is typical during a divorce, will continue post-divorce and force children to choose between parents or to take sides. For that reason, the professor says, the age-old solution is to award custody to the mother and allow the father visitation on alternate weekends and one night per week.

The professor re-examined 44 previously published studies. The most significant conclusion of her review is a confirmation that nothing else is as important as the continuation of quality parent-child relationships with both parents throughout the divorce process and beyond. Any Utah parent who wants to focus on achieving the best possible outcome with relation to child custody proceedings can seek the support and guidance of an experienced family law attorney.

Source:, "New research supports shared custody for children in divorce", Gail Rosenblum, Sept. 7, 2017

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