New Research on Best Child Custody Arrangements

New Research on Best Child Custody Arrangements

New research from Wake Forest University on the best child custody arrangements confirms what parents and psychologists have predicted all along: children fare better when their parents share custody. Currently, about 80 percent of child custody cases in South Carolina and across the U.S. award full custody to the mother, with visitation rights (parenting time) granted to the father. The logic behind this arrangement is that co-parenting often creates too much conflict for divorced parents, which in turn is harmful to the child. Recent research is challenging this notion.

Study Finds Strong Relationships With Both Parents Is Most Important

Psychologist Linda Neilson recently reviewed over forty published studies on divorce conflict, co-parenting, and the impact it has on children. She wanted to find out which was more important to a child’s wellbeing: a harmonious relationship between the parents or the actual involvement and time spent with each parent. Neilson found poor outcomes for children are more closely related to the quality of the child’s relationship with both parents than they are to the parents’ relationship with each other. She qualifies her statement by saying, “Of course it bothers kids when their parents quarrel. Conflict does matter.” Neilson recommends finding ways to minimize the child’s exposure to the parents’ conflict, rather than foregoing joint custody altogether.

Child Custody Laws In South Carolina

South Carolina does not allow judges to show preference to the mother when deciding child custody cases. However, mothers are still awarded primary custody of their children the majority of the time. Like other states, the family courts in South Carolina do not push joint or shared custody on families, believing in the virtue of stability for the child. However, if both parents agree to share custody, the judge will usually approve the arrangement.

South Carolina courts distinguish between physical and legal custody. Physical custody belongs to the person who takes on the role of primary caretaker for the child. Legal custody is the right to make major medical, educational, and legal decisions for the child. It is possible for parents to share joint physical custody of their child, but not legal custody, or vice versa.

The amount of parenting time awarded to each parent matters when determining the amount of child support payments. A noncustodial parent’s child support obligation is calculated based on the incomes of both parents, how many children the noncustodial parent is supporting, and how much time is spent with the child. The more days a parent is with the child, the less they will owe in child support.

South Carolina Child Custody Lawyers

A contentious custody battle may be one of the most difficult situations you ever experience. If you need legal help with divorce, child custody, or another family law matter, reach out to the experienced family law attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC. They are comfortable handling complex cases and dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Contact our office in Mt. Pleasant, SC to schedule a consultation.