Could shared custody be the new standard?

The standard presumption for parenting when couples get divorced is a controversial topic. Essentially, emotions run high when parents split up, and there may be instances where a parent may not want to share parenting roles. Moreover, some parents may have a sense of entitlement based on gender roles in parenting, and that this dictates who should be the custodial parent going forward.

However, America is changing, and with it, parenting roles are changing as well. As such, a number of state are taking steps to make equal parenting a presumptive standard in divorce cases. According to a recent USA Today report, state legislatures in Maryland, Arkansas and Connecticut are considering such initiatives. 

Specifically, Maryland and Connecticut have task forces in play to study the concept and issue reports to their respective legislatures as they prepare future legislation on the topic. Also, the state of Arkansas recently passed a law that requires that children spend equal time between parents absent the presence of factors that could harm a child emotionally or physically.

While the prospect of shared custody has its supporters, there are opponents as well. Those who oppose it believe that family court judges must have the authority and flexibility to make decisions in very specific situations and that mandated custody rules could be detrimental to families.

Illinois does not presume that shared custody is in the best interests of the child, even though it could be awarded as a temporary measure when there has been no history of domestic violence. But it remains to be seen whether the statute will be changed to establish a different standard.

Source: USA Today.com “Shared parenting time could be the new divorce outcome,” Johnathan Ellis, Jan.27, 2014

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