Deciding how to parent your children following a divorce or legal separation in Illinois may be one of the most difficult issues to negotiate in the final settlement. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the judge may award sole-physical custody to the primary caretaker and allow the non-custodial parent visitation.

Yet, studies show that children experience many benefits from spending a significant amount of time with both parents. Since each parent plays a critical role in a child’s development, shared parenting may be best for children with separated parents.

Advantages to shared parenting

According to STAT, an analysis of over 50 studies concentrated on joint-custody parenting showed that when children spend at least 35% of their time with the non-custodial parent, they exhibit the following:

  • Higher self-esteem
  • Fewer emotional and behavioral problems
  • Better grades
  • Stronger social networks
  • Better family relationships

They are also less likely to engage in dangerous behaviors, such as drinking, drugs and smoking. Long-term, kids in joint-custody arrangements often have more successful careers, longer lasting marriages and less incidence of anxiety and depression.

Furthermore, parents who share parenting responsibilities have a more positive relationship with one another, which benefits the children emotionally and financially.

Importance of parental roles

Children gain critical skills from each parent. While mothers are often more nurturing, giving kids a safe and comforting place to come home to, fathers encourage kids to explore their surroundings and act as disciplinarians.

Kids who are exposed to both parents may have healthier attachments to their family and use those skills to form stronger bonds as they grow into adulthood.