Parents in California who are getting a divorce may be concerned about child custody and the welfare of their children. One professor of adolescent and educational psychology asserts that excluding situations in which children have to be protected from an abusive parent, shared parenting should be the standard for children, even for those who are very young.
However, research indicates that mothers are still given physical custody of their children in over 80 percent of the child custody cases that are decided by the court. This is attributed to the long-held belief that the antagonism between parents in the middle of a divorce can be emotionally difficult for children to handle. Opponents of standardizing shared parenting assert that such parenting plans compel children to favor one parent over the other.
According to a study that examined the bonds between fathers and daughters, the degree to which conflict affects the relationship between divorcing parents has been routinely exaggerated and should not be used as a basis for making decisions about child custody. The idea of conflict should be a cause for concern because it can be difficult to clearly define due to the tendency of parents to sometimes manipulate or inflate conflict to gain sole custody of their children. It should also be noted that conflict tends to diminish soon after a divorce, while child custody decisions are usually in effect for a child’s entire childhood.
An attorney who practices family law may assist clients with resolving child custody disputes. Negotiation may be used to obtain favorable settlement terms regarding visitation rights or relocation. If the other parent is not adhering to the terms of an existing agreement, the attorney may request enforcement through the court system.