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Danish study details success of 50-50 custody

The high incidence of equal child custody arrangements in Denmark over the past decade led the European nation to pass the Parental Responsibility Act so that this practice would become the law, according to the Copenhagen Post.

As a result of this legislation, unless parents agree to a different arrangement, the state favors and enforces equal custody for these families. The law makes the alternating seven-day periods the standard practice in the country, the news source reported.

According to research done by the Danish National Center for Social Research (SFI), younger children are able to adjust to the arrangement and the home situation is more stable with this steady schedule.

“If the parents are able to create continuity between the two different home situations, it can work well,” Mai Heide Ottosen, a researcher for SFI, told reporters.

Children felt closer with both parents in the “7/7” situation, and if the arrangement doesn’t work then the parents can restructure the relationship and custody details, according to the Post.

The SFI is a research center in Denmark that helps to disseminate findings on key social issues and commissioned projects.

When children want to choose one home or the other

Parents often think they know what’s best for their children, even if they have gone through a divorce. However, as children get older, they may want a say in the child custody arrangements, particularly when it comes to where they live, as these decisions can greatly affect their schooling and social lives.

Huffington Post contributor Diana Carbajal Mejia has experienced this first hand when her teenage step-daughter asked to live with her and the teen’s father full-time after sharing custody half-and-half with the child’s mother for eight years.

The teenager proposed the arrangement because the split time at two homes was making it difficult to keep track of her studies. She also had to constantly lug her heavy school books from one house to the other, and had to have two sets of school uniforms for each house.

After hearing this request, Mejia said she spoke with her husband about the situation. Next, it was important for the couple to discuss the daughter’s wish with her mother. All adults involved discussed what would be best for the teen and agreed that they could not refuse her request.

According to the Post Gazette, it is important that parents listen to these requests but avoid getting bullied into the decision. The reasons for living arrangement changes should be in line with the co-parenting plan.