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Noting the benefits and disadvantages of shared parenting

Parenting comes with challenges. And with challenges can come mistakes that require attention. While divorcing parents might assume they know what is best for their children during and after the process, this doesn't always hold true when it comes to developing a child custody plan. Even if everything parenting related ran smoothly during marriage, this does not mean it will go as smoothly during and after divorce. Thus, it is important to understand what successful and beneficial parenting can look like post-divorce.

Divorcing with children is anything but easy. However, there are steps parents can take to ensure the best scenario for your children. Because it includes a relationship with both the mother and father, shared parenting is often the most ideal child custody arrangement. Today, it has become the norm nationwide, occurring in 75 percent of divorces in some states.

While it is deemed a very beneficial custody agreement, it is a parenting plan that comes with advantages and disadvantages. Lets start with the advantages. A shared parenting plan maintains regular contact with both parents. Studies have proven that shared parenting plans have less post-divorce conflicts. It can also improve a child's self-esteem. Additionally, shared custody arrangements reduce issues with child support obligations, can assist with childcare issues and are beneficial emotionally and physically to both parents.

The disadvantages of shared parenting focus on the negative impacts a child could suffer. If a divorce was high conflict and remains that way post-divorce, a shared parenting plan could cause the child to experience harm due to these conflicts. Shared parenting also has the ability to limit a parent's mobility. This arrangement could also generate anxiety in children, having to go back and forth between homes. If parents are unable to cooperate and acclimate to the parenting plan, this could harm the overall arrangement. Finally, parents can have a tough time understanding the difference between quantity and quality. This could generate fights and disputes about seeking more time.

No matter what child custody plan you seek, it is important to understand what it entails, what benefits it can offer and what disadvantages it has. This not only helps establish a fair and workable custody agreement but also ensures the best interests of the child are protected and met.

Source: Divorcemag.com, "Shared Parenting Pros and Cons," Donald A. Gordon and Jack Arbuthnot, August 25, 2017

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