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New study finds public supports equal child custody

Recently, one state’s lawmakers proposed a bill that would make it mandatory for a judge to grant divorced parents equal custody of their children unless one parent is determined to be unfit. Now, researchers at one major U.S. university have found that the public generally supports the notion of equal custody.

As some divorced Colorado parents know, child custody and parenting time is not always agreed upon by both parties. Currently, equal custody is only awarded to divorced parents if both parents agree to it. However, two new studies suggest that law may not be what the public wants.

Researchers at the University of Arizona presented a number of made-up scenarios to the studies’ participants. The participants were asked how they would rule if they were the judge in each case. The different situations involved shared custody cases. Two scenarios involved one parent receiving 75 percent of custody, and in the third case, equal custody was granted.

According to the researchers, the majority of participants would have ruled in favor of equal custody.

In response to the findings, the lead author suggested that lawmakers and others involved in the legal system should consider the vast public support for equal custody. He added that if they will not make changes, lawmakers should be more vocal about explaining their decisions to the public.

As the subject of child custody and parenting time becomes more prominent, it will be interesting to see if other states, including Colorado, propose changes to the current legal system.

Source: Psych Central, “Public Support Rising or Joint Custody,” Rich Nauert, 3 May 2011

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