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Is Joint Custody Better for a Child’s Health?

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Jun 07, 2015 | 0 Comments

Parents often worry about how their decisions during a divorce impact their children. Especially when it comes to custody, it can be hard to separate what's best for your kids from what's best for you. A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health dealt with the issue of child custody and how those arrangements impact the health and well being of children. So, is joint custody better for a child's health?

The study in question was based on a review of data concerning nearly 150,000 children between the sixth and ninth grades. Of the larger sample, nearly 70 percent lived with both parents, 10 percent shared time equally between parents in a joint custody arrangement and 20 percent lived mostly or entirely with only one parent.

The researchers discovered, to their surprise, that there were physical and psychological differences in the outcomes between children based on which group the children were in. Those kids who lived with both parents suffered the fewest incidents of headaches, stomach aches, sleeping problems, sadness, and stress.

Children who lived with only one parent suffered the most problem, especially headaches and trouble sleeping. When asked, these children also said they were the least satisfied with their relationships with their parents. Those kids in a shared custody arrangement had fewer problems than those who lived with only one parent and were only slightly less satisfied with their parental relationships than those children who lived at home with both parents.

Though researchers say the results were surprising and deserve further study, it is important to note that factors other than custody arrangements could have an influence on the children's health.

Source: “When divorced parents share custody, it's better for their kids' health,” by Linda Searing, published at published at

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