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Joint custody overtakes maternal custody

For many years, in divorces where children are involved, it has been widely believed that the courts will favor the mother. A new study, which may surprise Connecticut residents, suggests this has not been true for some time, and the times are still changing. At this point, it appears that joint custody has become the popular option among divorcing parents.

This study, which was released this year, looks closely at child custody in divorce cases from 1988 through to 2008. Initially, 80 percent of mothers were awarded sole custody, but in the following 20 years, that number dropped to only 42 percent. The number of fathers awarded sole custody stayed relatively constant at 10 percent. During the same time period, joint custody went from increased from 5 percent up to 27 percent.

It is important to note this study only covers custody situations for married people seeking divorce. It does not include the children of single parents, and given nearly half of all children born in the United States each year are born to single mothers, that is a considerable demographic to consider. However, the fact appears to remain -- joint custody is definitely on the rise.

Child custody is one of the most hotly-contested elements of many divorces, as some Connecticut residents know firsthand. However, joint custody offers benefits and challenges unique from sole custody. It can benefit both parents and their children to seek a fuller understanding of the differences between the various types of custody, and how those differences can affect their family moving forward after the divorce.

Source: Time Magazine, "Custody: Joint Custody On the Rise, Maternal Custody Plummets", Charlotte Alter, May 22, 2014

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