Custody agreements between divorced parents are more likely to provide equal parenting time than they did even several decades ago, when many divorced fathers were relegated to being “weekend dads.” A multitude of studies have found that children do better when they spend approximately the same amount of time with each of their parents.
It’s also good for the parents. As one journalist and author who has written about single motherhood points out, divorced parents can benefit in all aspects of their lives when they can share the parenting responsibilities equally.
For example, when one parent isn’t bearing the brunt of caring for their children, they have time to build their career — and increase their income. They may return to school for some additional training or take some classes toward getting an advanced degree. They may start a business. They’re more available to travel for work and are more able to work extended hours if necessary.
Beyond more time for work, parents who equally share custody have more time for themselves. They can get out of the house, spend time with friends and eventually begin to date. Being a full-time single parent can have its rewards. However, it can also cause a lot of stress and frustration — which kids can pick up on. If you know that your child is safe and sound with your co-parent, you’re less likely to feel guilty for going out to dinner or spending an extra hour at the gym.
Another advantage of 50-50 custody is that parenting roles and responsibilities are more equal. One parent can’t get away with being the one who spoils their child while the other is left to be the disciplinarian — even if that’s how it was when they were married. That can make both of them better, more confident parents and help their kids see them as equals.
If you’re contemplating divorce, you may believe that you’re better equipped than your spouse to be your child’s primary caregiver. However, unless they can’t or don’t want to be a responsible, involved parent, it’s wise to consider the advantages of equal parenting time.