Shared parenting has fought its battles in family law court where the awarding of a child’s custody to one parent has often been a family law tradition. Such rulings have often left the non-custodial parent with far less time that the custodial parent.
Supporters of shared parenting argue that for cases that do not involve allegations of physical abuse, substance abuse, or other issues, both parents should equal time with their children. Convincing state lawmakers of this idea has proven difficult, until now. The National Parents Organization has just released the results of a study that evaluated state custody laws. And when it comes to shared parenting, most of them received D’s.
History of Shared Parenting
According to Dr. Ned Holstein, founder of the National Parents Organization, judges have long relied on decades-old research that dictated what was best for children, rather than more recent studies that have since discredited the theory that children should only be with their mothers.
Linda Nielsen, professor of adolescent and educational psychology at Wake Forest University, has reviewed dozens of studies of child parenting situations. Shared parenting situations often showed lower levels of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, truancy, and other negative behaviors when compared to children who spent most of their time with a custodial parent. Nielsen agrees that judges, lawyers, psychologists, mediators, and others working in family law are often unaware of the current research that’s in support of shared parenting.
Making the Case for “Case-by-Case”
While the case can be made for shared parenting, Linda Scher, a family mediator, feels judges need to have flexibility when determining custody issues in order to make their decisions based on the terms of the case. While shared parenting works well in some situations, Scher feels it might “not necessarily [work] for children who are very young, or for those who need consistency.” And because of this, each case must be determined on a case-by-case basis.
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Source: USA Today, Report: States fail on shared parenting laws, November 13, 2014
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