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Sole custody can be more stressful for children

Children are amazingly resilient. This is a good thing, given the difficulties that many have to endure. And sometimes, what may be intuitively the most obvious, may not be correct.

Take for instance some studies that suggest that children who live in sterile environments are more prone to developing allergies than children who spend time less antiseptic homes. It seems the immune system needs to be challenged when children are young, and some environments are too clean. This appears to cause an overreaction to some exposures that lead to the development of allergies.

With child custody, there are those who argue that movement between parents should be limited to prevent children from being stressed by constantly being uprooted and shuttled between two homes.

A study from Sweden suggests this is less of a valid concern, and that children are less stressed in a joint custody situation than in sole custody homes, perhaps because the develop a better relationship with both parents.

Now, this study involved older children, and it is unclear if the nature of the parental relationship played a role, as one would assume less stress in a joint custody arrangement where both parents were cooperative than in a sole custody situation where there is constant friction between the parents.

 However, for teens, it appears that simply living in two homes throughout the year is not a stress factor. For parents developing a parenting plan, it is important to keep in mind the workability of a plan. Handoffs should be scheduled with realistic times, such than one parent is not always late because of their work.

Whether this study would hold true for very young children is not clear, but it does show that where parents keep the best interests of the children in mind, and are willing to deal with complex schedules, their children will benefit with lower stress.

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