There are a number of custody options that people can choose when they decide to divorce in Minnesota. While the right solution may vary for each individual family, joint custody is an increasingly favored standard option in most cases where the divorcing parents live near one another and have living situations appropriate for children. Many child psychologists note that shared custody is preferable for children of all ages, including overnight care, so long as abuse or neglect is not a factor. While some people in the past opposed overnight visits with fathers for infants and toddlers, modern approaches recognize equal value for parenting time with both parents.

Joint physical child custody or shared parenting usually means that children spend half of their time with each parent. Many people do a one-week-on, one-week-off schedule, especially when both parents live close enough together that this does not interfere with a child’s school attendance or extracurricular activities. In general, children in families with joint custody have better outcomes than those in families with sole custody. This may reflect a number of things, including the fact that joint custody is now a preferred standard in most places. In other words, divergences from shared parenting may point to more serious issues.

Children of parents with joint custody tended to have higher levels of academic achievement and emotional health as well as lower levels of behavioral problems or stress-related illnesses. Even when the parents do not get along well with one another, joint custody tends to point to more positive results for the children.

Of course, the right custody agreement may differ; some parents’ job schedules may mean that a strict 50/50 custody agreement is not the best option. A family law attorney may work to help a parent protect his or her relationship with the children and achieve a fair custody agreement.