There is no question that divorce is already a difficult and painful process. Couples with children have an even more challenging road ahead of them. Parents must not only come to terms with the end of their marriage, but also need to figure out how to move forward as mothers and fathers. How will they raise their children now that they are no longer married?
Attitudes regarding the roles of parents after a divorce have changed dramatically in the last 50 years. There was a time when mothers were almost automatically considered a child’s main or only parent. Mothers were generally tasked with raising children both within a marriage and after a marriage ended in divorce. Eventually, society began to recognize the dramatically important role a father plays in a child’s life. However, today’s mothers are still more likely to be awarded custody of their children than fathers are. According to a new study, this maternal favoritism may not be in the best interest of children.
Children Do Better in Life When Both Parents Are Involved
Richard A. Warshak, PhD, clinical professor of psychiatry and author, has been studying the effects of divorce on children for decades. His most recent analysis supports the idea that children need both their mothers and fathers in their lives. According to the data gathered, children who spend at least 35 percent time with each parent, rather than live with one and visit the other, have better relationships with their fathers and mothers. Furthermore, these children tend to do better academically, socially, and even psychologically. Children who spend time with both parents get better grades, are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and are less susceptible to mental illnesses and stress.
Warshak—along with many other respected child psychologists—believes that shared parenting should be the norm for children whose parents do not live together just as it is for parents who do live together. Aside from instances when a parent has proven to be neglectful or abusive, children benefit from having two parents. Of course, shared parenting may not always be the best decision for every post-divorce situation. Each family is different and may have different needs.
Considering Divorce? Let Us Help
If you are considering divorce and are worried about how the divorce will affect your children, you do not have to face these concerns alone. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., and get the help you need. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at our St. Charles office today.