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Could Joint Custody Explain a Child's Bond to Their Parent?

While many studies share varying opinions regarding divorce and the effect it has on children, one opinion is that divorce and parents having joint custody, may explain why children have a harder time attaching to their parents. The University of Virginia claims that when an infant spends a night apart from their birth mothers every week, due to the joint custody arrangement, they form a less seared attachment to them.

This is compared to infants who spend less time with their fathers, or only see them during the day; children appear to be more affected when their mothers are less involved in their lives. This research comes from data compiled by the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study which looked at an estimated 5,000 children throughout him U.S. in large cities from 1998 to 2000, the children were between ages 1 and 3.

According to the lead author of the study, Samantha Tornello, children in their first year of life develop their “healthy attachments to their parents which will play out even into their adult lives. This study suggests that children who are being raised in two homes are often affected in regards to their ability to attach with their parent during their early stages of life, even years down the road.

The study's primary goal was to determine the benefits of infants whose parents are divorcing: whether or not it would be more beneficial for them to have just one caregiver (mom or dad) or to live split time between two different homes. Tornello points out that for the best interest of the children, having the around the clock attention of both parents is ideal, though not always possible. In this case, having one secure attachment, they conclude, may be more beneficial than two without. This study is focused on those infants in their earliest years, and does not discuss the effects of one home later on in life.

Parents, remember, studies show only one side of the spectrum when it comes to divorce. If you desire to have strong relationships with your children, regardless of your marriage ending, know that it is possible for you to do so. Take the time to help your children understand your divorce, if they are old enough, and if not be sure to spend time with them and sharing your love for them. Not all families are meant to stay together, so do your best to help your children through the process.

If you are concerned with filing for divorce and matters of child custody, please contact the Meyers Law Group for more information and to speak with a Long Island divorce attorney who can help you!