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Research suggests joint custody of children should be the norm

Some parents in Texas fight for sole custody during a divorce because of a belief that it's better for children to have a more stable life with one parent. However, there's compelling research coupled with insights from experts suggesting this isn't the case. Barring instances where a child may be in dangerous or unsafe situations around a parent, it's generally advised that divorcing partners consider joint custody to keep kids involved in both parents' lives.

In one study published by a leading psychologist based on an analysis of research specific to various parenting situations following a divorce, it was concluded that child custody involving both parents should be the norm, even with younger children. Warnings about toddlers and infants having overnight stays with their fathers also appear to be unfounded based on the latest research regarding child development. Multiple experts from around the globe endorsed the findings of this study.

An assessment of more than 50 studies on parenting situations further showed that children in joint physical custody arrangements performed better academically and had fewer emotional and behavioral issues. Since sole custody is often awarded to mothers, limited contact with the non-custodial parent tends to hurt father-child relationships most, sometimes to the point where damage cannot be repaired. In other instances, dads gradually become less involved in limited visitation arrangements because it's too painful to have only occasional interactions with their children.

When a parent actively wishes to remain involved in their child's life, a family law attorney can put together a strong argument for joint custody. Such efforts may involve reaching a mutually acceptable arrangement with parenting plans and living arrangements throughout the year. If one parent prevents the other from having their turn at custody, an attorney can take steps to resolve the situation. If efforts to do this without escalating the matter fail, it may be necessary to seek intervention from the court to enforce a joint custody agreement.

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