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Study: Shared custody is best for kids

When Louisiana couples divorce, one of the issues that they often struggle with is the optimal custody arrangement for their children. While the "best interests of the child" is increasingly the determining factor, just what that means varies.

While many couples want to share custody of their children, some people, including child experts, have claimed that moving back and forth between homes can place stress on kids. A new study, however, indicates that children do better when they spend time with both parents.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, looked at close to 150,000 kids between 12 and 15. Researchers studied psychosomatic health issues including sleep problems (the most common issue), loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating, sadness, headaches and stomachaches. While children in nuclear families had the fewest problems, of those whose parents weren't together, kids who lived with both of them fared significantly better than those who only lived with one parent.

The founder of the National Parents Organization says that the notion that "suitcase kids" have a hard time is wrong. He says that research clearly shows that shared parenting is better for kids. He asserts, "Clearly, taking the suitcase back and forth once or twice a week so that you spend a lot of time with both parents is way better for the kids than the alternative of basically losing an intimate and closely loving relationship with one parent."

Couples going through a divorce should work to craft a custody arrangement that will allow both of them to take an active role in continuing to parent their children. They can do that under the guidance of their family law attorneys. If they choose a mediated divorce, a mediator will help them arrive at an arrangement that is best for their children.

Source: TIME Magazine, "This Divorce Arrangement Stresses Kids Out Most," Mandy Oaklander, April. 27, 2015

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