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The “father effect” is very real

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Modern courts usually take the view that a child should, unless there is an extreme situation, get to spend time with both parents after a divorce. They are on the side of shared custody or joint custody, rather than simply giving custody to one parent. Sole custody may still be used in some cases, but it is not as common and there usually needs to be a major reason to rule in this manner.

It has not always been this way, and mothers used to get preference. Part of the reason for the change over the years is a new understanding of the impact that fathers can have on their children’s lives. This has been dubbed the “father effect.”

A brighter future with fathers involved

Studies have repeatedly found that children who get to spend some time with their father, even if their parents are divorced, will have a much brighter future than those who do not. There are obviously exceptions to this rule on both sides, but the general trends bear it out. On average, those who have engaged fathers are:

Less likely to engage in high-risk activities

  • Less likely to end up in jail
  • Less likely to drop out of high school
  • More likely to have stable careers with high salaries
  • More likely to have stable and healthy relationships as adults themselves
  • More likely to have a higher IQ
  • Less likely to have serious psychological problems

If you and your spouse are getting a divorce and you’re trying to determine how to divide custody, it’s important to keep all of these factors in mind. You also need to make sure that you understand the legal steps that you can take to give your child the optimal living solution and the best possible future.

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