An Examination of Child Custody and the Best Interest of Children

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Sostoi, Rachael A.
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Divorce has become more and more socially accepted and easier to obtain. These were just a few reasons why divorce has become more prevalent in today' s society while exposing more children to divorce. Divorce was a major change in a child's life and had the potential to leave children with long-term negative effects and emotional problems. The divorce procedure itself did not cause negative consequences but rather the negative effects resulted from how the parents handled themselves following the divorce. The time directly before the divorce influenced how the children adjusted to the divorce. If the marriage was a high-conflict marriage, the children had a harder time accepting the new life. The age of the child affected the ways in which the child came to accept the divorce and the way he or she coped with the idea of having the family split in two. The majority of custody hearings awarded custody to the mother. The courts believed that maternal care was in the best interest of the child and that the mother would be better suited to raise a child alone, with minimal time spent with the father. Unless there were circumstances that were dangerous to the child, studies have shown that it was ideal to have both parents highly involved in the child's life following a divorce. Children need access to both parents at all times to have adjusted well to change. Courts have become more progressive in the last couple of decades and have strived to insure children with the living situation that would best fit that child. Thirty-three divorce cases were studied to examine patterns resulting from which parent was awarded custody. Many characteristics of the parents were studied, such as age, income, and length of marriage to determine where there was a variation between these different characteristics and who was awarded custody of the children. Also, the relationship between the father's income and child placement was studied.
v, 30 p.
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