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Joint or shared child custody shows best results for children

According to the founder of the National Parents Organization, several recent studies by separate, independent experts conclude across the board that children reared by only one parent after a divorce or separation do much more poorly than children who are brought up in a shared or joint custody arrangement. The superiority of a shared child custody setup applies in Georgia as well as elsewhere. It is clear that most children benefit greatly from having the love, guidance, and companionship of each parent on an equal basis. Nonetheless, family courts nationwide overwhelmingly award sole custody in one parent. 

Separate data stored by three major government agencies confirms that most teen suicides, high school dropouts, and children with behavioral disorders come from one-parent homes. Additionally, one-parent custody has produced the majority of children who end up in prison, chemical abuse centers, or state-operated institutions. Children from shared or joint custody upbringing showed better self-esteem, fewer behavior problems, and better school performance.

Shared parenting makes sense in other respects. For example, the sense of rivalry between the parents can be reduced and eliminated in a cooperative custody arrangement. It's also a good thing for each parent to be relieved by the other so as to avoid a situation where all demands rest solely and perpetually on one parent's shoulders.

Georgia as well as other states would be acting appropriately by formally studying and confirming the foregoing research findings. After all, a state court system does not thrive on institutionalizing a certain kind of child custody that is demonstrated to be  harming our children. Once the studies are verified and the shared custody concept is recognized as having superior results, the state legislatures will then be motivated to pass supportive remedial legislation that makes shared or joint custody a matter of preferred public policy.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Joint custody should be the rule, not the exception", Ned Holstein, Oct. 8, 2014

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