Sharing time with your child may not be your first choice, but when your son or daughter spends time living in the homes of both parents, it may lead to lifelong benefits. If that joint-custody arrangement was not your initial preference, understanding how it may benefit your child may help you ease into the transition and adjust to your new normal. 

According to Science Daily, kids who live only with one parent or the other are more likely to say they feel stressed than their peers who spend time in both parents’ homes. The finding comes from a study involving 807 youths from a variety of living arrangements. It refutes a common belief that living in two homes causes a child unnecessary stress and hardship. 

Possible explanations 

Why do children often fare better when their parents share custody? Part of the reason kids whose parents share custody often benefit is because they have higher chances of maintaining close relationships with both parents. Many studies have proven this to be an important factor in a child’s well-being. 

If your child lives only with you, or only with your ex, he or she may also fixate on the lack of a relationship with the other parent, which may lead to stress and anxiety. Also, when your child lives with both parents, he or she may have more social connections, familial connections and financial resources than those who live with one parent. 

Custody determinations 

It is important to note that the study demonstrating how children fare better when their parents share custody applies in situations where parents share physical custody, not legal custody. While “legal custody” has more to do with decision-making authority, “physical custody” involves your child actually living in both of your homes. More on this topic is available on our webpage.