When Arizona parents decide to divorce, their primary area of focus is usually on matters of custody. When their child or children are very young, the most common custody arrangement is for the mother to retain primary custody, with the father receiving limited visitation until the children are a little older. A recent study looked into different custody and visitation arrangements, and found that children may develop stronger bonds with their parents when they have liberal overnight visitation with their fathers from a very young age.
The study involved a survey of more than 100 college students, all of whom had parents who separated or divorced when they were younger than 3 years old. Respondents were asked about their visitation patterns as young children, and then asked about their current relationship with both parents. What was revealed was that young people who were able to have frequent overnight visits with their fathers reported a closer connection with both parents.
This may be based on the bonding that takes place when a parent provides care for an infant. When fathers are excluded from those tasks, a valuable bonding opportunity is lost. In addition, when divorced fathers take on overnight visits, the mothers are provided with a much-needed break from the responsibilities of single parenthood.
For those in Arizona who are preparing for a divorce and child custody settlement, this research may be of interest. Incorporating regular overnight visitation, even with very young children, could be a way for both parents to bond with their child, and for the primary caregiver to have a short respite from providing the bulk of care. Sharing those duties and joys could lead to positive outcomes for everyone involved.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Sleepovers With Dad Can Be a Win-Win After Divorce", Robert Preidt, Feb. 3, 2017