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Study reveals that joint custody is becoming common in the U.S.

In the event of divorce in Washington, the process of determining who among the two parents are more fit and suitable for the child can be challenging for those involved, especially children. The disturbing effect of divorce to children has been indicated in many previous studies, that is why many family law courts and judge are encouraging parents to choose joint custody.

Joint custody is awarded when each parent shares physical custody and legal custody rights. This kind of child custody arrangement allows both parents to equally participate on the decision-making, raising, welfare and upbringing of the child. While some parents in Washington think that joint custody arrangements are rare, a new study published in the journal Demography stated that joint custody is becoming more and more common.

The study reviewed the current custody environment in the U.S. including Washington. Although the data focused on the court records of a different state, the researchers explained that their findings means that the decision of custody matters are often based upon the best interest of the child.

The researchers found that joint custody cases increase from 7 percent to 14 percent between 1986 and 1994. When it comes to sole custody awarded to mothers, it decreases to 42 percent in 2008 from 80 percent in 1986. Equal shared custody rose from five percent to 27 percent. The authors of the study noted that the dramatic increase of shared custody arrangements means that the social norms are transforming.

Many states, including Washington, have a custody policy that encourages both parents involvement after divorce. While these policies may give options to divorcing parents on how they can minimize the impact of divorce to children, facing a custody dispute with a legal professional can help them create a parenting plan and visitation schedule that is best for all involved.

Source: Psych Central, "Joint Custody Becoming the Norm," Rick Nauert, May 22, 2014

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