When parents in Minnesota decide to end their relationships, the question of child custody immediately arises. In the past, family courts automatically gave primary custody to mothers, which left fathers less time to interact with their children. Gradually, the requests of fathers to maintain parental relationships have shifted views toward greater equality between parents, and a scientific study has shown that children benefit from co-parenting.

Published in 2017, the study examined the psychological well-being of preschoolers whose parents had split. Children living within joint custody arrangements displayed fewer behavioral problems than children living primarily with one parent. Constant moving between households did not produce negative effects for the children.

The emergence of new attitudes about shared custody has placed the focus on the happiness of children. To develop a custody schedule, parents should build a plan based on creating stable parental relationships for the children instead of what the parents would prefer for themselves. For some families, this means innovative approaches like parents coming and going from a family home on alternating weeks or children moving back and forth between parental homes according to schedules that best meet the needs of the children.

A parent navigating these decisions might benefit from legal advice. An attorney may provide information about parental rights and suggest ideas for child custody schedules that a family court judge might be likely to approve. The representation of an attorney during meetings with the other parent may help prevent arguments and keep the conversation focused on the children’s future and well-being. After the parents come to terms, an attorney may be able to write the co-parenting document for submission to a court.