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More states consider equal custody laws

Although a shared parenting bill was vetoed last year in Florida by Gov. Rick Scott, there is no doubt that times are changing when it comes to child custody. Many states are looking at the benefits of custody arrangements that move parents closer to a 50-50 time split.

Take for example Connecticut and Maryland. Both states have formed government groups that will take a deeper look at custody laws and then issue reports on the matter. In Arkansas, a law has already been passed that gives “approximate and reasonable equal division of time” to parents in divorce. Before this, the state’s case law did not favor joint custody.

While some oppose the push for these types of laws, saying that judges should have flexibility in deciding custody arrangements, others point to specific reasons behind the growing interest in shared parenting laws. For one thing, it seems large majorities of Americans are supportive of shared custody, according to polls. Also, changing gender roles may be prompting a need for change. And finally, there seems to be growing backlash coming from frustrated non-custodial parents who feel that courts have taken away their powers.

No matter the final opinion, most people can agree that the main child custody goal is to meet the best interests of the child. But as evidenced by the varying opinions on this topic, the best interest of a child may sometimes be up for interpretation. In most cases, of course, the unique circumstances of the family will play a big part in the determination of custody.

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

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