You have probably heard that divorce courts prefer joint custody for the children when possible. This just means that both Mom and Dad will be involved, to a degree, after a divorce. The courts try to steer clear of sole custody unless it’s apparent that the child’s welfare would be negatively impacted by being with one of their parents — if it’s an unsafe living situation, for example.
You may wonder, then, why the courts do this. Yes, it makes sense that both parents would want and deserve time with the children, but the courts are supposed to put the children first, not the parents. Is joint custody in their best interests?
It is, and this is really the driving force behind this focus. Studies have found that the bonds between children and their parents are different along gender lines. That is to say, a five-year-old boy is going to have a different relationship with his father than with his mother.
What this shows the court is that both parents absolutely have important things to offer as the child grows up and develops. It is not as if one parent does most of the nurturing and raising of the child while the other is more hands-off and has little impact. Both parents play a role and the court, looking again at the child’s best interests, wants to make sure that they get that influence on both sides.
As a parent who is facing a divorce, be sure you know what rights and legal options you have to preserve your relationship with your child.