As attitudes regarding post-divorce parenting have shifted toward a more collaborative approach, more than 20 states have considered legislation to encourage shared custody when a married couple with kids gets divorced.
The Washington Post reports states like Florida, Kentucky, and Michigan have all looked at proposals with varying stipulations, with Michigan’s proposal going as far as to make equal parenting time square one for custody decisions. California law favors joint custody when both parents are on board and there is no starting presumption that one parent is better for the other. The court will rule based on the best interests of the child’s health, safety, and welfare, as well as what arrangement allows them to continue having a similar amount of contact with their parents to what the child had when the parents were together.
Society has not always been so open to shared custody. In past generations, it was more common for a child to spend most of the week with one parent and then every-other-weekend or once-a-month with the other. It’s somewhat reflective of how household dynamics have changed over the last several decades. Today, there are more households where both parents work full-time jobs and share parenting duties. But, as the Washington Post article notes, the changes also come after years of lobbying from fathers’ rights activists, who say that men increasingly feel cut out of their kids’ lives and that child support requirements are too onerous.
If you grew up in a shared custody household or have shared custody of a child with a former spouse, what has your experience been? How did you come to the decision with your former partner? How did your kids’ wishes play into your decision?