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How divorce affects the health of children

Texas parents who are contemplating a divorce may be interested in a recently-published study that was conducted in Sweden. Researchers looked at a group of children of the ages of 12 and 15 to see if their living arrangements had any bearing on the incidence of psychosomatic illnesses such as nausea and dizziness that may have their root in stress. It has long been suspected that the pressure of a divorce and the alterations in custody arrangements can have deleterious effects on children, from the mental to the physical. The researchers' idea was to compare psychosomatic illnesses against living arrangements and see if any trends developed.

The majority of the children lived in a home with two married parents. As the researchers expected, the subjects showed fewer reports of psychosomatic illness than any of the other respondents to the test. Nearly 20 percent of the children were in some sort of shared or joint custody arrangement in which they spent roughly equal amounts of living time with each divorced parent. The remaining children lived with only one divorced parent in a sole custody situation.

The researchers found a significant difference between the joint custody and sole custody children. They had expected that the stress of difficult logistics and conflicting emotions in a joint custody relationship would be reflected in greater levels of psychosomatic illness among the joint custody children. However, the opposite appeared to be the case. Analysis of the data caused researchers to speculate that the health of a child directly benefits from the involvement of both parents in their lives.

Parents who are divorcing are sometimes able to resolve their child custody issues amicably. A family law attorney can be of assistance to a parent in negotiating an arrangement that will be in the best interests of the child and acceptable to the court.

Source: Time Magazine, "This Divorce Arrangement Stresses Kids Out Most," Mandy Oaklander, April 27, 2015

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