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How Equally Shared Parenting Benefits Child and Parent

March 05, 2024
Advice, Co-Parenting
Equally Shared Parenting

The days when courts automatically and solely “awarded” child custody to the mother in divorce cases have disappeared. Court rulings began shifting around the 1970s to include fathers, spurred by a better understanding that children need both parents to thrive.

Shared Parenting

And so began a decades-long drift from sole custody to shared parenting. In a shared parenting set-up, a divorced couple might decide their child should spend 70% of their time with mom and 30% with dad, or vice versa. Factors like school districts, work schedules, medical needs, and extended family often inform decisions and make each arrangement unique.

Equal Parenting

A new branch of shared parenting- equal parenting- is gaining popularity. It’s a specific form of shared parenting in which each parent spends the same amount of time with their children (also known as 50/50 parenting).

Parents have many alternatives for making this custody arrangement work. For example, a child may spend one week with one parent and the next week with the other. Another option is switching every two days. There’s an innumerable number of strategies parents can use to make the situation work for them.

Benefits of Shared Parenting

Studies show that children adjust to new post-divorce arrangements best with both parents in their lives. Barring cases of abuse, the child continues to benefit best under shared parenting even in cases of high conflict between parents.

Specifically, equal parenting time boosts child development benefits. Even more specifically, overnight stays with both parents are the sweet spot of getting the best of both worlds. Let’s look at why.

  • Bonding: Children bond more readily and deeply with their caretakers. Furthermore, they can form multiple attachments to many caregivers. Studies show that equal custodial time allows both parents to care for and work with their children through their wake and bedtime routines. Children, especially those in the “tender” ages up to three years old, bond with parents more when they spend equal numbers of overnight stays with them.
  • Future: Children raised equally by both parents grow up to keep those strong bonds they formed in their younger years. It seems irrefutable that the quantity of time translates to the quality of the relationship.
  • Experiences: More time equals richer and deeper experiences. From vacations and staycations to play time and routines, children who spend equal time with both parents are more well-rounded.
  • Discipline: Children benefit from learning and following expectations and rules. When discipline comes from more than one adult in their lives, children learn the importance of following guidelines and are less likely to act out at school and home.
  • Adjustment: Equal parenting alleviates the harmful effects of divorce on a child. Children often feel caught in the middle of a battle during divorce. By spending equal time with both parents, they don’t feel as guilty when spending time with one parent because they know their time with each is fair.

Parents Benefit, Too

There’s plenty of research to support the claim that kids fare best after divorce, with both parents playing integral parts in their lives. No doubt, it has inspired many divorced co-parents to put their differences aside and work together for the sake of their children.

We want to inspire parents even more by focusing on how equal parenting is good for the parent, not just the child. Let’s look into the advantages parents enjoy with equal custody arrangements.

  • Less Conflict: It may sound counterintuitive that working together more often leads to less conflict between a divorced couple. However, showing your co-parent that you value and trust them enough to spend more time with their child usually starts the ball rolling on goodwill and good faith exchanges, speeding up the reconciliation process.
  • Shared Burdens and More Time: Equal parenting gives co-parents the same amount of time with their children, which is the fairest way to divide the 525,600 minutes in a year. Even better, though, this situation relieves any one parent of shouldering most of the burden of raising a child. That reduces parental stress and gives them more time to pursue education, a career, a dating life, self-development, self-care, etc.
  • Child Adjustment: Kids feel both parents act and treat each other fairly. As a result, they are more at ease with their uncontrollable situation and behave better, which eases a parent’s challenges.
  • Parent Adjustment: A parent’s world also gets turned upside down during divorce–new surroundings, loss of household income, gain of household responsibilities, possible loss of friends, etc. Parents deal with these significant changes better when they see their children regularly and equally.
  • Parental Maintenance: Parents who see their children equally have an easier time maintaining their natural parenting abilities. Attributes like responsibility, authority, involvement, support, attachment, and emotional availability stay strong when a parent has more interaction time with their child.
  • Mental Health: Parents who have equal involvement in their children’s lives experience depression less often than a parent who has less custody time.

Equal Parenting and Child Support

Typically, child support payments have the non-custodial parent (the parent spending less time with the child) paying monthly amounts to the custodial one. When parents share time 50/50, that could affect a court’s decision about payment amounts.

However, co-parents can work out payment amounts on their own. Apps for divorced parents with expense tracking capabilities help. They make tracking, totaling, and paying super simple and convenient. Parents can easily see who spent what on child expenses because all expenditures are transparent. The best ones even include a dispute-resolution feature.

Mutually Beneficial

While it doesn’t make sense in all situations, equally shared parenting is worth considering for parents who live close enough to one another. We’ve seen numerous benefits to children and parents when they spend more time together, especially overnight.


How Equally Shared Parenting Benefits Child and Parent


Children tend to adjust better to post-divorce arrangements with both parents involved. Shared parenting benefits kids, even in cases of high conflict between parents. Read on to learn more about the benefits of shared parenting in this infographic.

5 Shared Parenting Benefits Infographic

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