The decisions that parents make can have life-long effects on their children. As a parent, you certainly want to do your best to ensure that those influences are positive rather than negative, but you also cannot avoid every potential scenario that could leave your children feeling down. When it comes to divorce, the choice to end the marriage may be the best for everyone involved, but you will likely still worry when it comes time to make child custody decisions.
Fortunately, multiple options for custody exist, and you could find the best arrangements for your particular situation. Of course, if you and the other parent do not work well together, or you feel that he or she may not be the most fit parent, you may find yourself facing conflict during this time as you work toward the outcomes you desire. You may also want to keep in mind how the different arrangement could potentially affect your kids.
Joint custody vs Sole custody
When it comes to physical custody of your children, you may wonder whether to seek sole custody or joint custody. If you believe the other parent to be unfit, abusive or otherwise detrimental to your children, you may want to work toward obtaining sole physical custody. However, some research suggests that children in this type of custody arrangement may develop lower self-esteem and have more behavioral issues than children whose parents have joint custody.
Joint custody -- meaning shared parenting time -- allows children to see both parents on a fairly regular and consistent basis. As a result, they can typically maintain strong relationships with each parent, which may lead to higher self-esteem and fewer behavioral problems. Of course, if your soon-to-be ex may harm the children, joint custody may not have such positive effects.
If you do obtain sole or primary custody of the children, the other parent may still have the ability to see the kids during visitation. Visitation schedules are typically set up ahead of time, but some could remain flexible to account for particular circumstances at a given time. However, changing visitation schedules could provide children with an inconsistency that may impact their emotional stability.
Coming to terms
Because your children are your top priority, finding the best child custody arrangements for your situation is likely also at the top of your list. Fortunately, you can gain more information from local legal resources that could help you determine what options may best suit your needs and the best interests of your children.