Tips for parents on how to handle child custody

When it becomes clear that a marriage is no longer tenable, many Florida parents are immediately concerned about how a divorce will affect their kids. It is no surprise that going through such a monumental change in the structure of their family will have an impact on children. That said, recent research suggests that the more important factor is how parents handle the divorce and resulting child custody changes.

After decades of divorce research, what has emerged is a pattern in which kids fare better when their parents have an amicable divorce, rather than fighting to the bitter end. Interestingly, it also seems that kids whose parents stay together out of a desire to make things easier on the children do not benefit from those efforts. It may be that, once the marriage has deteriorated to a certain point, staying in the same household offers little to no benefits to the children in the family.

Parents can approach this research with an eye toward reducing the negative effects of a divorce on their kids. That may mean working collaboratively to reach a child custody agreement that everyone can live with, rather than fighting over every holiday or school vacation. It might mean seeking counseling, both for the parents and the kids, to make sure that everyone is handling the change in a healthy way.

At the end of the day, the best way for Florida parents to make a divorce easier on their children is to avoid high levels of contention. Working through a new child custody structure might be a challenge, but allowing kids to live their lives without having to deal with anger and bitterness between their parents is essential to a positive outcome. Researchers may not fully understand why kids seem to handle divorce better in some circumstances versus others, but it cannot be denied that reducing family strife is a great place to start.

Source:, "Divorce Isn't What Harms Kids' Health, Study Finds, But How Parents Handle It Is", Abby Norman, May 25, 2017

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