The relationship between a parent and a child is an incredibly important one, and it can be impacted by a great many things. This includes what time a child gets with each of their parents if their parents end up splitting. For example, a recent study suggests that whether or not children of split parents have overnights with each of their parents when they are infants or toddlers could have long-term implications on their relationships with their parents.

The study looked at children whose parents had split by the time they were infants or toddlers. Some of these kids had regular overnights with their father during their infant/toddler years, while others did not and solely stayed overnight with their mother during these years. The study compared the relationships the children in these two groups had with their parents by the time they were between 18 and 20.

The study found that the kids who had father overnights generally had a stronger child-father relationship by the time they had grown up than the children who didn’t. Additionally, it found that the kids who had father overnights tended to have a stronger relationship with their mother too. The children who had around an equal amount of overnights with their dad and with their mom in their infant/toddler years averaged the strongest child-father and child-mother relationships.

As this underscores, what happens with custody matters when parents split touches on issues that can have big ramifications for children and families. So, when navigating such matters, it can be important for a parent to understand their rights and how to protect the best interests of their kids. There are various incorrect assumptions parents could fall into when it comes to their rights in such matters. For example, some fathers may incorrectly assume that they don’t have much in the way of rights. Skilled family law attorneys can help fathers and mothers have an accurate picture of what their rights are when it comes to child custody matters.

Source: Arizona State University, “Overnights with dad benefit kids of divorce — no matter their age,” Feb. 2, 2017