More States Considering Shared-Parenting Legislation

shared parenting There has been a strong push in many states during the first half of 2015 to implement more balanced child custody laws that would lead to more equal parenting time after divorce.

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted this movement and noted that nearly 20 states are considering measures that would change laws that govern which parent receives legal custody of a child following divorce or separation.

Most of the proposals encourage judges to adopt custody schedules that give parents the maximum amount of parenting time possible with their kids. Some, like New York and Washington state, go a step further and require judges to grant equal parenting time unless there is proof that such an arrangement is not in the child’s best interest.

Here is a look at just a few bills that have either passed or are being considered across the country.

  • Utah passed HB35 in March and the law will go into effect May 19. The law will increase the amount of weekly parenting time noncustodial parents receive and increases the parent-time schedule from 80 overnights to 145. To qualify for the optimal schedule, the noncustodial parent must meet the following criteria: 1. demonstrate that they’ve been actively involved in the child’s life. 2. Communicate effectively regarding the child, and 3. any other factors the court considers relevant.
  • A bill was proposed in Nebraska that would maximize the time each parent gets with their children if they are unable to agree on a parenting plan. Judges could determine the exact split, but the minimum amount of time either parent could have would be 35 percent.
  • In March, the Colorado senate introduced a 50/50 parenting bill that would recognize parental rights as fundamental rights. The measure would require courts to explain in writing why a custody order that “does not order substantially equal parenting time between the parties” is in the child’s best interests.

While this progress is encouraging, unfortunately there is much ground to make up. Last year, the National Parents Organization Shared Parenting Report Card revealed that, nationwide, the custody laws in the U.S. do a poor job or promoting shared parenting.

These developments coincide with the publication of  a study in Sweden that shows the benefits of shared parenting. Last month, researchers  found that children that spend time living with both separated parents are less stressed than those that live with just one.

In the study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, researchers examined national data from nearly 150,000 12- and 15-year-old students in either 6th or 9th grade and studied their psychosomatic health problems, including sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, headaches and stomachaches, feeling tense, sad or dizzy. They found that kids living with both parents reported significantly fewer problems than children in sole-custody arrangements.

“We think that having everyday contact with both parents seems to be more important, in terms of stress, than living in two different homes,” said Malin Bergström, PhD, researcher at the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm, Sweden. “It may be difficult to keep up on engaged parenting if you only see your child every second weekend.”

Of course, there already exists a plethora of research regarding the benefits of shared parenting. Statistically, children of divorce fare significantly better when they spend parenting time with both parents. Children who regularly do this have fewer injuries, less asthma, less headaches, and less sleep defects. On the other hand, children from single-parent homes have higher high school dropout rates, higher rates of suicide, and report more problems relating to their peers.

Shared-parenting arrangements can also reduce conflict between divorced spouses.

“Sometimes [50/50 custody agreements] work simply because nobody has the upper hand,” said Cordell & Cordell Regional Partner Kelly Burris, who was recently interviewed by WOAI NBC 4 in San Antonio about the Texas 50/50 custody bill. “So you have both parents having equal control of what’s going on with the kids and the time spent with the kids, and so nobody has that power to control what’s going on in the other person’s family.”

While noncustodial parents might still be fighting an uphill battle, these measures appear to be steps in a positive direction as lawmakers and father’s rights advocates continue working to level the custody playing field.

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Shawn Garrison is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell & Cordell UK. He has written countless pieces dealing with the unique child custody and divorce issues that men and fathers face. Through his work on CordellCordell.com, CordellCordell.co.uk, and DadsDivorce.com, Mr. Garrison has become an authority on the complexities of the legal experience and was a content creator for the YouTube series “Dad’s Divorce Live” and additional videos on both the Dad’s Divorce and Cordell & Cordell YouTube channels. Mr. Garrison has managed the sites of these customers, and fostered the creation of several of their features, including the Cordell & Cordell attorney and office pages, the Dad’s Divorce Newsletter, and the Cordell & Cordell newsletter.

22 comments on “More States Considering Shared-Parenting Legislation

    SHOW ME THE STUDIES!
    THEY DON’T EXIST.
    tHE MOST IMPORTANT BOND ID WITH THE “PRIMARY CAREGIVER”
    NOT, “equal time”.
    Show me the studies or simply stop the propaganda.

    Both parents were the PRIMARY CAREGIVER when the parties were married. Why can’t they BOTH be following a divorce? Who gets to decide who the better parent is? I could be a case study because I am divorced with 13 year old triplets and their father and I have shared parenting. We agreed upon this because it is BEST FOR THE CHILDREN. My fiance is a dad with every other weekend and his children are much different than mine and his ex-wife has alienated his children against him

    Great! So in “no-fault” states, even if the father cheats, leaves the mom for the mistress, has abused her mentally, emotionally and physically, he will still get 50/50 custody now. Oh and the mom will have to pay child support to him if he doesn’t make as much as her! Such a GREAT WIN for the dads. Sucks for the mom. The child doesn’t win either because there will always be great tension. Good going Arizona! Worst ruling ever!!!!!! Yes, there are good men and fathers who deserve this. But the bad ones always win…..

    Its not about the mom or the dad, its about the child. Parents get so possessive over “their” child, its both parents child and both parents deserve 50/50 time. Woman are the only one getting pissed about this because they are usually the one parent getting more time and its not fair. The cheating and money part are irrelevant that has nothing to do with the child.

    California is a shining example of common sense. They passed a law that provides for the presumption of shared custody. Further, child support is decided based on not only income but time spent with the child or children. Their law should be followed by every state.

    Shared parenting is the right thing. But the main impact on children is from conflict. So unless the child support equation I’d also rationalized along with shared parenting, I believe that we’ll still have plenty of conflict and lawyers taking away money. For example, in the state of WA the child support calculator will not work till you designate one parent at the custodial parent, so even if you have 50/50 schedule, and equal income, you have to choose a custodial parent, in even in the case of 50/50, and equal income the calculator will show a need for a transfer payment or child support due to the parent who was designated as the custodial. So while the shared parenting is important first step, there are many other mini steps that will be needed to fix the broken system. Yes its a complex web that have extended its tentacles into so many areas that are the job won’t be done. Inequities start with unequal parenting time, but have extended in to many other areas which will need to be addressed.

    Please everyone that can write the Iowa Senate to pass Shared Care within the next week or two. Simply go on the Iowa State Senator Legislative site to get the emails for the following Senators and urge them to pass Shared Care in the State of Iowa: Senators Gronstal, Senator Hogg, Senator Sodders, Senator Schneider and Senator Zaun.
    Thank you.
    March 3, 2016
    The Number of the Shared Care Bill is:
    HF 2372
    The Bill passed in the Iowa House on March 2,2016. It nows goes to the Senate. Thank you for your support.

    20 states that have passed or are considering the legislation of 50/50 parenting is a step in the right direction, but the rest need to follow suit and stop sitting on this, otherwise it’s nothing more than a money grab on the party of the broken and outdated family court system.

    There needs to be consequences for the actions of “Parental Alienation” on the side of the parent doing the alienating so they are held responsible for the child abuse “they cause”. All too often, parents, (mostly Dad’s) are left holding the bag, paying child support and getting very little “quality” time with their own child/ren if they get any at all because the custodial parent has turned the child/ren against the alienated parent. Other countries see this for what it is, child abuse, pure and simple and have passed laws to make the alienating parent responsible by handed them a deserved criminal charge. Bottom line is more needs to be done to level the playing field in “ALL” states in regards to 50/50 shared parenting. Legislation should be passed to make Parental Alienation a crime as a form of child abuse charged against the alienating parent. There should be counseling/help programs that at the first sign of parental alienation the alienating parent or both should be entered into before it gets out of hand and lives are ruined. The broken family court system needs to STOP making it a money issue, and further abusing the parent on the outside (mostly men) and do what’s right for the child, meaning if mom and dad are separated/divorced, so be it, but 50/50 shared parenting should be the minimum standard.

    20 states that have passed or are considering the legislation of 50/50 parenting is a step in the right direction, but the rest need to follow suit and stop sitting on this, otherwise it’s nothing more than a money grab on the party of the broken and outdated family court system.

    There needs to be consequences for the actions of “Parental Alienation” on the side of the parent doing the alienating so they are held responsible for the child abuse “they cause”. All too often, parents, (mostly Dad’s) are left holding the bag, paying child support and getting very little “quality” time with their own child/ren if they get any at all because the custodial parent has turned the child/ren against the alienated parent. Other countries see this for what it is, child abuse, pure and simple and have passed laws to make the alienating parent responsible by handed them a deserved criminal charge. Bottom line is more needs to be done to level the playing field in “ALL” states in regards to 50/50 shared parenting. Legislation should be passed to make Parental Alienation a crime as a form of child abuse charged against the alienating parent. There should be counseling/help programs that at the first sign of parental alienation the alienating parent or both should be entered into before it gets out of hand and lives are ruined. The broken family court system needs to STOP making it a money issue, and further abusing the patent on the outside (mostly men) and do what’s right for the child, meaning if mom and dad are separated/divorced, so be it, but 50/50 shared parenting should be the minimum standard.

    Shared Parenting is in the best interest of the child!
    The movie ‘Divorce Corp” outlines the perils of the Family Court system. Families are destroyed. Too often, one parent is in the position of fighting a legal battle that consumes their financial resources and leads to a life of destruction with regard to their reputation that results in profound emotional turmoil. The parent expends EVERYTHING they have financially and emotionally, and yet, they are still not ‘allowed to have a relationship with their child. This needs to change!

    Research consistently shows that when both parents of a divorce are involved in their child’s life the child is MORE likely to do better in school and develop appropriate social relationships. There is LESS chance of the the child engaging in drinking, drugging and sexing behaviors. A LESSER chance of delinquent behaviors and LESSER potential for issues with emotional health.

    The mere term Family Court indicates that this is about THE FAMILY! The expectation of Family Court is to preserve the family unit, not divide and conquer. The activity for reform in the Family Court arena is a huge step in the right direction. Let us use the research to improve the system. Let us review the successful methods of child custody and child support guidelines in other countries. Let us pass legislation that allows BOTH parents to parent their child after the divorce. Anything less is compromising the academic, emotional and physical health of the child!

    SUPPORT SHARED PARENTING!
    Shared Parenting Confessional

    Until such a time that the laws recognize that these two people chose to have a child together, and unless there is criminal activity that hurts the children, then they should have to abide by a 50/50 schedule if they cannot agree to something on their own. When I say criminal, I mean a charge that is prosecuted or plead that demonstrates risk to the children. Otherwise the court is the playground of the parent willing to destroy the other parent. No more GALs, no more custody Evaluations, and nor more complicated and nonsensical court rulings. If a parent chooses to move away, and the parents don’t have an agreement, then that parent automatically is opting for a limited schedule with their kids. The “Best Interest” standard is a crock of sh*t, and absolutely abused. The quickest way to eaual parenting is to redefine child support or do away with it. Child support and parenting time should be completely separated such that changes in parenting time don’t affect it. Thsi will naturally tend towards equal time. If child support is paid, then all expenses for the child are the obligation of the receiver of support, otherwise expenses should just be split. If child support is so important to the lesser earning parent, then they should have to take the risk that it won’t cover the proportional amount owed by the other parent. A custodial parent really has no risk, and that makes them much more likely to cause to trouble.

    This is very positive. Unfortunately I’m sure it will still require one parent to pay the other child support in most cases. In 50/50 I can see an arrangement where higher earning parent may pay higher percentage of daycare or medical expenses, but sending other parent a check to do whatever she pleases with is ridiculous. I have 50/50 and wife makes good money but I still have to pay her.

    Why does Arizona let a Mother move a child to South Carolina not once but twice and think this is the best interest for a 9 year-old boy?

    What is going on with Tenneessee? Laws are a joke for people with good jobs! I have to support my ex and her family.

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