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Physical effects of divorce on children

As some New Jersey parents may know, the debate over whether children of divorced parents do better when custody is jointly shared continues. A recently-published study evaluated this issue and drew a conclusion based on information from 150,000 respondents.

The study reviewed data culled from students aged 12 and 15 to determine how psychosomatic health issues affected those participants who lived with parents who were not divorced as opposed to parents who were estranged. The study examined how children whose parents were divorced fared in terms of health issues if they spent time equally between the parents. In the study group, 69 percent of the children came from intact homes, while 13 percent lived with one divorced parent and the remainder shared an equal amount of time with both divorced parents.

The symptoms the study analyzed were feelings of sadness, dizziness, sleep issues, headaches, difficulty concentrating, stomach problems, and appetite loss. The authors reported that children who lived with their parents in a nuclear family setting did the best. However, children of divorced parents who shared equal time with both parents did better than children who lived with one parent. The authors noted that the stress of moving between homes intermittently during the week was less intense than spending only occasional amounts of time with the noncustodial parent. The study concluded that the emotional strength and lack of stress the children experienced when sharing time with both parents resulted in fewer psychosomatic symptoms.

When a parent is in a child custody dispute, it might be advisable to seek the assistance of a family law attorney. Legal counsel may help structure a shared custody agreement if a determination is made that it is what is best for the child. However, in situations where there have been previous episodes of domestic violence on the part of one of the parents, such an arrangement will neither be in the best interests of the child nor acceptable to the court.

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