If you and your spouse plan to divorce in Washington, both of you likely have concerns about the way your children will react to the news. You know they will worry about where they will live, with whom, and how much they will continue to see the other parent. They may even worry that your impending divorce is somehow their fault.

Children, even older ones, seldom reveal their true feelings to their parents, especially feelings about divorce. Consequently, they may seem fine while they actually struggle. Fortunately, a post-divorce joint custody arrangement can make life easier for them and for both parents.

Child joint custody benefits

Studies show that children whose divorced parents agree to a joint custody arrangement can benefit in the following ways:

  • They maintain loving relationships with both parents.
  • They maintain extended family relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. on both sides of their family.
  • They undergo less emotional trauma during and after their parents’ divorce.
  • They generally achieve and maintain higher grades at school.
  • They generally establish and maintain better peer relationships.
  • They are far less likely to turn to alcohol and/or drugs out of despair.

Parent joint custody benefits

While children significantly benefit from joint custody, studies likewise show that you and your former spouse also will benefit. How? Consider the following:

  • You likely will find it easier to achieve and maintain a cooperative post-divorce relationship.
  • You likely will find it easier to adhere to your agreed upon parenting schedule.
  • You likely will have less incentive to become angry with each other over issues regarding your children.

Naturally, joint custody does not work for every family, especially those with a history of spousal abuse and/or child abuse and neglect. Joint custody also requires that you and your former spouse both agree to put the interests of your children above your personal grievances with each other.