Couples who file for divorce in Florida have many topics to negotiate when drafting the final divorce settlement. One of the most complicated may be that of who will take care of the children. According to Florida state statutes, judges award sole physical parental responsibility when one parent acts as primary caretaker, and the other parent has visitation rights. Joint physical parental responsibility, on the other hand, allows parents to split the caretaker role as the child spends an equal, or almost equal, amount of time with each parent.
Traditionally, the judge in a divorce case will award sole physical parental responsibility to the parent who spent the most time caring for the child prior to the divorce. Yet, studies show the benefits of joint parental responsibility and how spending a significant amount of time with both parents can help a child’s physical, social and mental development.
Spending time with both parents
Researchers found that when kids spend large amounts of time with both their mother and father, they often have the following advantages over children who spend the majority of their time with one parent:
- Better grades in school
- Better relationships with friends and family
- Stronger support groups
- Higher self-esteem
- Less likely to experience high levels of anxiety, stress and depression
- Less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol
Adults of shared parenting usually go on to achieve better careers, have longer-lasting marriages and a better sense of self.
Finding out why
Both mothers and fathers provide essential attributes to the child that the other cannot. While mothers often act as caretakers, fathers provide a safe environment and encourage kids to explore. Some believe that shared parenting is only successful if both parents get along. However, studies show that even when parents are in conflict, kids still benefit from joint custody.