Divorce is an emotional and difficult process for all of those involved. It evokes feelings and brings about tensions within a family, and children often have a difficult time coping with the new changes. It is imperative that parents work together and attempt to make the process as smooth as possible for children.
Divorce has shown to have a negative impact on the children it effects. A study published in March 2013 in Public Health found that children whose parents go through a divorce are more likely to smoke than those whose parents remain married. The link is likely associated to higher levels of stress.
According to The Week Magazine, a previous study at the University of California Berkley found that there is a 35 percent risk of health problems among children of divorced parents, where there is only a 26 percent risk among children in general. This susceptibility is also thought to result from a heightened level of stress. The heightened risk of health problems typically follows a divorce for a period of four years.
An eight-decade study in the book titled The Longevity Project also found unfortunate results when looking at a child’s extended life after divorce. The research followed 1,500 boys and girls during their lives and found that children of divorced parents died, on average, five years earlier than children whose parents stayed married. These deaths were both from natural and unnatural causes.
Many of the negative effects on children stem from strain placed on them during the divorce process and after the divorce. Making the process as smooth as possible is imperative for a child’s development.
Child custody can be split into two separate categories: physical and legal. Physical custody is typically given to one parent, called sole physical custody, and refers to whom the child will be residing with. Legal custody refers to the rights to make decisions about the child’s healthcare, education, religion and other important concerns.
In many occasions, legal custody is awarded to both parents. This is called joint legal custody. In these situations, both parents work together in making important decisions.
A court deciding where a child should reside and who should make their important decisions takes into consideration the best interests of the child. When examining the child’s best interests, the court considers a number of factors, including: the age and sex of the child, the child’s adjustment to community and school, the stability of the enforcement, and any evidence of parental drug, alcohol or sexual abuse.
The court also takes into consideration who is currently the child’s primary caretaker. The court focuses on the responsibilities of the parents and who is in charge of meal preparation, health care arrangement, grooming needs, financial expenses, furthering the child’s education and fostering participation in extracurricular activities.
Divorce can lead to many complications, especially when custody is at issue. Contacting an experienced family law attorney proves most beneficial for parents looking out for their child’s best interests and providing a smooth transition.