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Joint custody does not stress kids out most, study claims

For years, there has been a prevailing thought that joint custody creates a lot of stress for children, which is why some people oppose it. In essence, because kids live at two homes and have to travel back and forth so much, people assume this elevates their stress levels and takes away the consistency that they need.

At least one study says this is not true. It says that it's actually better for kids to live with both their mother and father, even if that means travel time and having two homes.

Stress can be hard to track, so researchers looked at numerous factors in their study. These included:

  • When kids felt sad
  • When they felt dizzy.
  • If they felt tense.
  • If they had trouble concentrating.
  • If they had no appetite or frequent stomachaches.
  • If they suffered from headaches.
  • If they had any problems sleeping.

The study did show that kids who lived with both parents at the same time -- termed a "nuclear family" for the study -- had the fewest issues to report. However, kids who split time between both parents' homes were second on the list. Those who only lived with a single parent had the most psychosomatic issues, suggesting that it actually stressed them out far more not to spend time with the second parent.

This is an important study because the goal of a child custody case is to look at the best interests of the child, not the parents. If joint custody causes them the least stress and related issues, it could be the best option when there are not significant factors -- like abuse -- working against it.

Source: Time, "This Divorce Arrangement Stresses Kids Out Most," Mandy Oaklander, accessed Nov. 08, 2017

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