Is shared parenting in the best interests of the child?

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Divorcing parents have to decide which parent will be the custodial parent and which will be the noncustodial parent. However, a growing number of parents are opting for a shared parenting arrangement. Shared parenting means that both parents have equal time – and equal say – in the upbringing of the children. Orlando readers may be interested to learn that state legislatures throughout the country are starting to consider the approach.

Several states, including Florida, have attempted to pass legislation that would require parents to make more equal parental arrangements. Florida legislatures passed a law in 2012 that would have included a shared parenting plan, but it was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. A similar issue also occurred in Minnesota. The legislature passed a parenting law that would have increased the minimum custody from 25 to 35 percent, but the governor vetoed the bill.

Although governors might not be willing to sign these pieces of legislature, advocates of shared parenting are undeterred and convinced the arrangement is in the best interest of children. Because there are more fathers acting as primary caregivers, the arrangement ensures that both parents will continue to have equal access to the children. They do concede that in cases where there was abuse, it is not the ideal arrangement.

Although it is true that in most cases children benefit from having equal access to both parents, those who oppose legislation making shared parenting a requirement believe judges need to have the latitude to determine how much access each parent has in deciding legal custody. For anyone who feels his or her parenting arrangement is not ideal, speaking with an experienced legal professional can help a parent determine the best course of action that will better serve everyone involved.

Source: USA Today, “Shared parenting could be new divorce outcome” Jonathan Ellis, Jan. 28, 2014

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