California parents who are getting divorced and negotiating custody might wonder what the best option is for all involved. People might consider joint physical or sole physical custody or shared parenting. While some individuals believe that younger children belong only with their mother, research shows otherwise, including very young infants.

According to experts and researchers, children, even infants, benefit from joint physical custody arrangements from the beginning. The research shows that children’s emotional health, behavior, physical health, academic achievements and relationships with parents and others are positively impacted by joint physical custody. In a sole custody arrangement, the relationship between the other parent and the child usually suffers. This is particularly worrying because a third of noncustodial parents in sole physical custody situations sees their children at least once a month and another third never sees their children at all.

Even in a complicated custody dispute, it is beneficial to seek joint physical custody. It is also in the children’s best interests as children they need to develop stable, solid relationships with both their parents. Additionally, joint physical custody would also provide the children with more stability in the midst of the changes brought about by divorce. There are, of course, exceptions to this. One of them is if the children need to be protected from a parent due to a history of abuse, for example.

Parents who need to negotiate custody might also contact a lawyer with family law experience who can better explain how state legislation works regarding custody agreements. An attorney can offer advice about the process, help a parent make legal decisions and offer representation during negotiations and court dates.