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Shared parenting recommended for child custody cases

Divorce is particularly hard when children are involved. The daughters and sons of a couple can be devastated when their parents split. Additionally, they will be faced with new dynamics, as they start to spend differing amounts of time with each respective parent. The exact amount of time that they'll be with each parent is typically decided in the child custody case that goes along with the divorce.

Often, those cases involve acrimony, as issues between divorcing husband and wife spill into their battle for the children. Yet, it is possible to address the matters surrounding raising the children after the divorce constructively. One way to accomplish this is by embracing shared parenting.

Shared parenting is based on the simple belief that children need both their fathers and mothers in their lives after a divorce. Advocates for shared parenting laws say that it is best for custody to go to both parents in the event of a divorce, instead of the old model of one getting custody and one getting visitation. Advocates are gaining ground in some states.

One state passed a law that called for an approximately equal division of parenting time as the default for child custody cases. This was the opposite of case law, which had not been favorable towards joint custody at all. Indeed, case law is believed to be prompting legislative efforts by shared parenting advocates, since what they feel is best isn't happening in the courts.

Advocates of shared parenting in Illinois would also like to see a greater emphasis on constant involvement by both parents after divorce. To that end, both parents in each child custody case should get an experienced attorney. That way, they can protect their right to parenting time.

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

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