Unless there is a history of domestic violence or substance abuse, most researchers agree that after divorce, children are better off living with both parents. The courts do not disagree, although Tennessee statutes note that when determining custody, judges should also consider the physical and emotional health of parents, whether they can provide stable homes for the child and their willingness to support each other in maintaining a healthy relationship with the child.
According to STAT, even very young children benefit from shared parenting time. This includes at least 35% of their time with the father, including overnight visits. So what are these benefits?
Perhaps before the divorce one parent was the primary caregiver, taking care of the bulk of parental responsibilities such as feeding and clothing the child and putting him or her to bed. This does not necessarily mean that the other parent is not as good at it. After the divorce, that parent has the opportunity to learn to become a primary caregiver, as well, and psychologists have discovered that this often results in a closer relationship with the child.
Conversely, when a child lives with one parent and visits the other, the parent-child relationship often deteriorates after the divorce.
Perhaps due to the better relationships with parents, these children excel academically, psychologically and socially over those who live primarily with one parent and visit the other.
Emotionally and mentally, children of divorce who have close relationships with both parents also are not as likely to have anxiety or suffer depression, and are less likely to develop illnesses related to stress.