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Several states addressing changes to child custody laws

When a marriage ends in California or anywhere around the country, couples have a long list of issues to address. If the couple has children together, questions surrounding child custody are paramount in the discussions. Many states are enacting legislation that deals with custody issues and bucks once traditional parenting decisions made by the courts.

In the past, most courts awarded custody to mothers. Fathers typically saw their children every other weekend following a divorce. However, studies show that children fare much better when both parents are equally involved in their upbringing.

Various states are taking note of the research and are changing their laws accordingly. Many states have added laws that establish joint physical custody while a divorce is in process. Others have recommended legislation that makes equal parenting time the norm. While the push for these changes may have come from advocates for fathers' rights, the involvement of both parents is most often in the best interest of the children.

Certainly, joint parenting is not an option in situations where abuse has occurred. Other critics argue that the best interest of the child may not be fully considered if an automatic split of custody is administered in every case. Also, joint custody situations may lead to reducing or eliminating child support payments. This may adversely affect the household with women since their pay has been historically less than that of men.

Child custody issues in a divorce can be contentious between ex-spouses. To ensure that the best interests of the children are addressed, it would be helpful to seek the guidance of an experienced California divorce attorney. A lawyer can assist with all aspects of a divorce and work with clients to achieve the best outcome possible in the proceedings.

Source: The Washington Post, "More than 20 states in 2017 considered laws to promote shared custody of children after divorce", Michael Alison Chandler, Dec. 11, 2017

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