Many laws changing to allow joint physical custody

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Friday, September 9, 2016.

Illinois parents who are getting a divorce might want to consider shared physical custody of their children. A number of states are moving toward passing laws that encourage co-parenting rather than giving primary physical custody to just one parent, usually the mother, and ordering visitation for the other parent.

Custody laws have been rewritten in Arizona, Missouri, Utah, Minnesota and South Dakota, and a number of other states are considering similar legislation. The Arizona law is being looked upon as a model for other states to potentially follow because of its expansiveness. Rather than strictly focusing on custody and visitation, it looks at parenting in a larger context of sharing responsibility and not just dividing time 50/50.

In Missouri, courts have in the past often focused more on keeping the child in one physical dwelling and making sure the child stays with the mother. According to the new law, neither the gender of the parent nor the age of the child should be taken into account by judges making custody decisions. Observers have speculated that both a rise in reports of parental alienation syndrome and studies showing that children benefit from more time with both parents are reasons for the new laws.

Some parents may want to consider joint custody. They may want to take into account factors such as the child’s extracurricular activities and where each parent will live. There might be creative solutions to the situation. For example, some parents opt to keep the family home and let the children live there while they take turns staying there. However, this is not financially feasible for many parents. It may still be possible to create a cooperative and stable situation for children with joint physical custody. Parents may want to have the assistance of their respective attorneys in negotiating a parenting agreement that addresses many of these issues.

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