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Florida children can benefit from more time with Dad

When parents go through a divorce, their primary concern is how to share the joys and responsibilities of parenthood. When there is a very young child involved, the most common child custody arrangement is that the baby stays with the mother, and the father receives limited visitation until the child is a little older. Recent research, however, may help to change the presumption that infants are better off in the sole care of their mothers. That could lead to different outcomes in regard to child custody cases throughout Florida.

The study looked at the visitation patterns of more than 100 college students whose parents were separated or divorced when they were younger than 3 years old. What the researchers discovered was that the respondents who had regular overnight visits with their fathers had closer relationships with their fathers as young adults than those who did not have the same pattern of visitation. In addition, they reported being closer with their mothers, as well, when compared to the young adults who did not have the same level of contact with their fathers.

Researchers believe that this result may be based on the bond that develops when a parent cares for an infant, and is actively involved in the routines of providing for a child's daily needs. As for the mothers, having a short break from the tasks that come with a small child provides a well-needed opportunity to relax and recharge. It appears that overnight visitation could have a positive impact on everyone involved.

For those in Florida who are preparing to negotiate a child custody settlement, this information could be of use. Instead of taking a traditional approach of limited visitation with very young children, an arrangement that incorporates overnight visitation could be a great thing for both parents and children. Fortunately, courts are often willing to weigh these types of studies when making custody determinations.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Sleepovers With Dad Can Be a Win-Win After Divorce", Robert Preidt, Feb. 3, 2017

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