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Some commentators consider shared child custody as a preference

Some advocates suggest that state family laws all across the nation should gravitate more toward shared custody arrangements in divorces involving children. The idea is more about the amount of time that a child (or the children) would spend with each parent. Proponents of the idea say that an exception should be made in instances when there is evidence of physical abuse of a child, or substance abuse is implicated.

A number of states have considered modifying their own state law to prefer that parents share equal time with the kids after a divorce. One state has passed a law to set the default position in child custody arrangements to involve “approximate and reasonable equal division of time,” according to USA Today. That law is aimed at modifying case law concepts giving preference to joint child custody. The law is too new to know what effect it may have in that state.

Child custody issues can be contentious in some cases. In others, divorcing parents may be able to work out a custody arrangement that works for the child (or children) and the parents alike. But, child custody issues are not necessarily set in stone at any time under California law.

While a divorce case remains pending, for instance, the court may order a temporary custody arrangement. A final judgment may also set out terms of a custody arrangement. But, circumstances may substantially change over time. A parent may be able to seek a modification of a custody order based upon that change in circumstances.

In general, California child custody disputes are resolved through the court weighing what would be in the best interests of the child. In some cases, equal parenting time may serve those interests. But, each individual situation may have issues that make an equal time arrangement difficult to manage.

Source: USA Today, “Shared parenting could be new divorce outcome,” Jonathan Ellis, Jan. 27, 2014

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