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50/50 child custody: What's really fair for kids?

It's been argued that children shouldn't spend equal amounts of time with their parents following a divorce, despite the fact that more states are looking to provide more equal shared custody positions. A Nov. 14 report claims that there is a movement, and the Parental Rights Initiative was even proposed to require courts to give parents equal custody rights following a divorce. That measure was defeated, but why is that the case?

Child custody has long been argued over within the courts. In colonial America, the English common law rule was that the father maintained custody of his children, and that's the law that was followed throughout much of American history. By the 20th century, that law had become outdated, and motherhood being perceived as important -- even more important than fatherhood -- and resulted in the tender years presumption. This presumption basically resulted in the fact that the custody of young children was nearly always to their mothers.

Now, there are more gender-neutral custody standards. However, trying to break custody into even time between parents is difficult; no matter how custody is arranged, it's true that only one parent can typically have the child in their primary custody. Unless parents live close together, it's nearly impossible to split a child's time equally nor is that necessarily in the best interest of the child.

One way Arizona has taken a lead on the issue is to make parents create a parenting plan together; this helps maintain children's contact between both parents, and both have a say in how their children are raised. This is one option you might want to consider for your case in Colorado as well.

Source: The Washington Post, "No, children should not spend equal time with their divorced parents" J. Herbie DiFonzo, Nov. 14, 2014

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