Divorcing is never easy, but throw children into the mix, and suddenly everything is a million times harder. Not only do you have to say goodbye to the life that you've known, but so do the kids. Now, instead of having one home, they may have two. Some couples choose to have weekend visitations, while others have a less consistent schedule. Research has shown that children can become very stressed when dealing with a parental split, which can show in their performance at school as well as their overall demeanor. According to Stockholm University and Karolinska Institute, the answer could be 50/50 custody.
In Sweden, 50% of parents that divorce share custody, but the amount is significantly less in other countries. For instance, just 9% of separated couples in the UK share custody. The prospect can seem like a logistical nightmare. After all, shuttling a child between houses on a consistent basis seems like the antithesis of stability, but the research suggests otherwise.
Stockholm University and Karolinska Institute conducted a study that looked at the psychological wellbeing of 4,684 children, asking if they felt sad, angry, tense or nervous. This particular outing found that kids living in divorced households were on par with children living with both parents in a stereotypical family set up.
Other studies such as one published in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, claim that children do better if parenting is shared, concluding that families who share custody tend to have higher incomes and fewer arguments and conflict. Of course, in some cases, 50/50 custody isn't an option because of situations such as domestic violence or if the children themselves aren't willing to be moved between two homes on a frequent basis. If the two residencies aren't in the same area, then this could cause friction in the child's home life. Younger children are more likely to be adaptable, while teenagers may find the process more difficult. The research does suggest that whatever the custody agreement, children do better when both parents remain actively interested in their lives.