Child custody has long been one of the most emotionally charged aspects of a divorce. When both parents want to play a role in their children’s lives, creating an amicable custody arrangement can be difficult.
In the past, judges often defaulted to primary maternal custody, with fathers receiving alternative weekend visitation or custody rights. These custody arrangements are rare in recent years, however, as judges have focused more on effective custody arrangements and less on a one-size-fits-all approach to custody.
Preferential Custody Arrangements
Today, judges prefer child custody arrangements that offer:
Equal parental participation: Judges have begun to focus on custody arrangements that offer equal participation. The actual time each parent will spend with their children may not be equal. However, arrangements that give each parent a voice in decision-making and allows them both to play a critical role are gaining popularity.
Stability for the children: The constant back and forth between houses can take a toll on children, especially during the school year. To provide as much stability as possible for children, judges tend to prefer custody arrangements that limit the impact on the child’s education, activities, and lifestyle.
Support during formative years: Scientific research demonstrates the value of joint custody, especially for preschool-aged children. Research reveals that these children experienced significantly fewer behavior issues and psychological challenges in joint-custody arrangements. Many judges focus on custody arrangements that provide children the support they need to develop into healthy, happy individuals.
Flexibility: Scheduling issues resulting from inflexible custody arrangements often lead to disputes between parents, which can result in court proceedings. To limit the stress and disputes associated with scheduling issues, judges prefer more flexible arrangements, especially as children age and their needs and lifestyles change.
Both parents are now given the opportunity to play a key role in raising their children and having a voice in their health, education, and well-being.
Need Help Addressing a Child Custody Dispute?
An effective child custody arrangement is important for the health and well-being of children and parents alike. At Setzer Law Firm, our divorce lawyers focus on helping clients resolve custody disputes as quickly and effectively as possible. Call Jill and John Setzer to learn more.