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Could sharing child time be harmful?

A new study may be shaking up the way child custody determinations are arranged, if judges in Columbus, Ohio, choose to pay attention. According to the researchers involved, the number of overnights a child spends with the secondary caregiver during the first year of her or his life could cause some insecurities regarding the primary caregiver, be that the mother or the father. In typical custody arrangements, the primary caregiver is the mother, though.

Child custody is a very sensitive topic and many divorcing parents cannot agree on the specifics. Some parents who were not involved in the child's life during the marriage may suddenly believe they will be able to care for the child now that the relationship is over. If this is deemed best for the child, then this person who was slacking as a parent during the marriage may be given a second chance after the split. This is when overnight stays can get in the way.

For example, perhaps the child was born at the end of the marriage and the divorce or separation has caused the parents to quit living in the same home. It is possible the parents may come to an agreement during this time so that one parent gets a weekly overnight with the child while the other acts as the primary caregiver. This weekly overnight, according to the study, caused 43 percent of babies to have an insecure attachment to their mothers. Compare this to the 16 percent of babies that had an insecure attachment to their mothers with less frequent overnights and concerns begin to mount.

Attachments are deep connections between a caregiver and an infant that can play into relationships throughout the child's life. This is why child custody can be so extremely important.

If you believe you will be involved in a custody dispute in the near future, reach out to a legal professional who specializes in such matters.

Source: Futurity, "'Commuter' babies find it hard to bond" Fariss Samarrai-Virginia, Jul. 22, 2013

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