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Parents and experts increasingly lean toward joint custody

The best interests of children in California are generally represented by shared parenting and joint physical custody when their parents divorce, according to a growing body of research and expert opinion on child development. Such an arrangement can help to ensure that the parents have roughly an equal amount time with their children on an ongoing and regular basis.

A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that children living in shared parenting arrangements had significantly improved health outcomes over those in sole custody arrangements duein part to lowered stress levels. Dozens of respected professionals in the fields of family law and child development have also underscored the importance of shared parenting. Children in joint custody arrangements know that they have not lost either parent and feel improved senses of safety and security. This supports improved outcomes and is generally in the best interests of the child, absent situations of abuse or unfit parenting.

The preference for shared parenting is increasingly reflected in family courts as well. While most mothers continue to receive physical custody, fathers who seek it tend to receive a positive response. And in many states, legislation is being proposed that would mandate a default preference for joint custodyin family court. Meanwhile, in countries like Australia and Sweden, shared parenting has been the default preference in family court for some time.

A family law attorney can often assist a father who is seeking joint physical custody. In many cases, this can be done through negotiating a parenting plan that covers ways to resolve any difficulties that could arise in the future as a result of such an arrangement.

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