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Children may benefit from shared child custody after divorce

As in every other state, Minnesota family law courts put the “best interests of the child” at the forefront when deciding on child custody matters. Of course, every parent has their own opinion about what it in their child’s best interests, and divorcing parents may not have the same vision when it comes to how much time their kid will spend with each of them.

The debate over whether children do better splitting time between their parents’ homes, or living with one parent most of the time, has been going on for a long time. Many observers believe that going from one home to another every few days is excessively stressful for kids. But a new study, reported upon by TIME, suggests the opposite.

The study comes from Sweden, and is based on national data of nearly 150,000 12-year-olds and 15-year-olds. Researchers focused on health complaints like sleep problems, loss of appetite, poor concentration and feeling sad, tense or dizzy. The study grouped these symptoms as “psychosomatic problems,” implying that they are caused by stress over their family situation.

Most of the adolescents lived with both of their parents in a single home. Meanwhile, 19 percent split time in their separated parents’ homes, and 13 percent lived with only one parent full-time.

According to the study, the students whose parents shared custody reported fewer psychosomatic issues than their peers who lived with a single parent. The study’s author believes everyday contact with both parents is emotionally beneficial. She pointed out that it also tends to double the child’s economic, social and familial resources.

Of course, every child is unique, and their best interests could include sole custody or shared custody. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, it will be up to the court to decide where the kid will live.

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