More states move toward shared custody

On behalf of The Walters Law Group, Ltd. posted in Child Custody on Thursday, January 30, 2014.

Chicago parents may be interested in proposed laws around the country that promote shared custody of children by divorcing parents. Many of the new laws would suggest or require judges to award equal custody between parents unless there is some compelling reason not to do so, such as a history of abuse by one parent. Advocates say that children benefit when they spend the same amount of time with each parent.

Arkansas recently changed its law to favor an equal division of child custody time between parents. That replaced a law that stated the exact opposite, that shared custody was not favored. Maryland and Connecticut lawmakers are also reviewing their states’ custody laws. South Dakota lawmakers are also considering changes to custody law.

The shift towards shared parenting could be caused by several factors. The changing role of men in children’s lives has created a greater need for involvement by the father after a divorce. Also, decades of law aimed at providing sole custody to one spouse has created bitterness and feelings of helplessness among non-custodial parents. Their efforts to change the custody system may be paying off. Opponents say shared custody could enable individuals who have abused their spouse or children.

While shared custody may resolve how much time a parent spends with a child, it doesn’t resolve every custody issue. Parents still have to decide which days the children will spend with each spouse, how children will be transported back and forth and what will happen on holidays. Shared custody also doesn’t resolve the issue of child support. A family law attorney may be able to help a divorcing parent determine their priorities and fight for their rights in settlement negotiations or in court.

Source: USA Today, “Shared parenting could be new divorce outcome“, Jonathan Ellis, January 27, 2014