Many California parents who are going through a divorce want to have joint physical custody of their children, and courts are now supporting shared parenting more than they did in the past. Though family court judges used to favor the mother in a majority of child custody decisions, they are now recognizing the benefits of maintaining a child's relationship with both parents.
Shared parenting is being encouraged across the United States, and several states have enacted child custody reform laws that favor equal parenting time for both parents after a divorce. Missouri has passed a shared parenting bill, as have Minnesota, Utah and South Dakota, among others. A child custody law in Arizona that favors equal parenting time has been seen as a format that is likely to be imitated by other states. There are many other states that have child custody reform legislation under consideration.
State governments may be supporting shared parenting because there is a lot of scientific evidence that children benefit from it. Many researchers have found that children who spend equal time with both of their parents are more emotionally stable after a divorce. Though the laws differ from state to state, they all attempt to keep a child's relationship with both of their parents intact after a divorce.
A divorcing parent could have a more difficult time negotiating a shared parenting plan if the other parent is against it. An attorney may be able to represent a parent during child custody negotiations and advocate for joint child custody and equal parenting time. If the case goes to court, an attorney may present strong evidence that proves a joint custody order would be in the child's best interest.