Dual Custody: Addressing the Strengths and Weaknesses

There are times when couples come to that place in their marriage where they realize that they are no longer meant to be together, whether it is the endless arguments or the lack of love and romance, marriages end after a season for many couples. A huge concern for parents especially when considering the option of divorce is the wellbeing of their children, and wondering how a divorce between their parents will affect them. For many couples who are going through a divorce, they still equally love their children, just not their parent anymore, and with that the parents want to figure out a method that will work in favor with their new divorce lifestyle as well as being beneficial for the child.

Many couples who divorce and live in the same area will consider dual custody to be a very effective method for parenting. Though as with any decision involving children, it is always good to consider the pros and the cons of everything, particularly in light of a divorce. Here are some of both the strengths and weaknesses of dual custody for parents that have divorced. Every family situation is unique, so talk this advice with a grain of salt, and use these tips to help you consider what is best for you and your ex as well as the children. Depending on how old your kids are, consider even discussing their needs and wants with the divorce, perhaps you are willing to listen what they would prefer when it comes to custody, or you would rather decide for them. Whatever the case may be, take time to think it over; custody is an important decision for any divorcing parents to weigh the options on.

Defining Dual Custody

Custody comes in a variety of different forms, and can be understood as legal or physical custody between both parents. The idea behind this approach is that both parents are very involved in the lives of their children, and it is an arrangement that gives the kids time to be with their parents as well. When parents agree to have dual custody over their kids, they are stating that they both want to have a say in their lives both personally and legally. This could include their religious practices to their education as well as medical decisions, and so on. In the realms of dual custody, say the father chooses to live in their home town while the mother has to move to another city for a job. They may agree that the father has the children a majority of the time so that the kids can keep their friends and stay at the same school, but the mother will still have the right to spend a lot of time with them as well, perhaps every other weekend with her or the summers, depending on what they decide. There are many different ways to approach dual custody, which gives the parents a little bit of flexibility to decide what is best for each of them as well as the children.

Strengths of Dual Custody

Having both parents involved in the lives of their children is a definite bonus to choosing dual custody. Many professionals would agree that it is a beneficial way for the children to be raised when there are both parents involved in their lives. A lot of this has to do with maintain their relationships, but also because both parents have unique traits to bring to the table that will help mold and train the children in different ways. While one parent may be good at sports and math, another may be more on the creative side, and enjoy literature and therefore the kids can be exposed to both of those worlds. Another key issue in dual custody is that it reminds the children that even though their parents divorced they were not abandoned by one parent. It is very common for kids to feel that a divorce is their fault, and when one parent takes full custody they may struggle with the idea that their other parent doesn’t love them anymore or that it was their fault. A bonus of dual custody for the parents is the fact that while you are able to have a good amount of time with your children, you also have some free time; this gives you the opportunity to catch up with friends, recover from the divorce, and even get back out into the dating world again.

Weaknesses of Dual Custody

While having equal time with both parents can be a beneficial thing for the children, there are some situations that perhaps it will only make the situation worse. For example, say that the ex’s are always fighting, still, over holidays or weekends, etc. this can add a lot of stress on the child, and they may come to dread being picked up by one parent at the end of the week for fear of hearing yet another argument between both of them. Another downside to dual custody for the children is the fact of switching homes every so often, this can get tiring, and even tedious for the children to do all the time. Having two homes and always transporting clothes or toys back and forth can be hard, and even the idea that even though its “moms weekend” little Susie’s best friend is having a sleepover Saturday night in her dad’s neighborhood but can’t go, can be hard for the kids to understand as well.

Going through a divorce is never easy for the children, though it is entirely possible to deal with when the parents are willing to make it work. While there are some downsides to dual custody, overall it has proven to be a very effective method for the children as well as the parents who are hoping to stay involved in the lives of their kids. As long as the two parents are willing to try and communicate with each other and make it work out, dual custody can be a pleasant arrangement. Communication is everything, and perhaps it was difficult to do in your marriage, maybe now that you are living separately it will help a bit. Remember, now you are trying to help your kids, and by working together it is for them. If you are considering divorce, or have more concerns about custody arrangements, contact Claery & Hammond, LLPtoday for a trusted divorce and family law attorney.