The landscape for parenting time has changed enough to get the attention of state legislators around the country. The combination of evolving parenting roles and public sentiment for non-custodial parents has made the case for shared parenting stronger across the nation.
According to a recent USA Today report, legislatures in Connecticut, Arkansas and Maryland have taken important steps towards making equal parenting a standard in divorce cases. The general assemblies in Connecticut and Maryland have created task forces to study the issue and prepare a report that could lead to future legislation.
In Arkansas, the legislature passed a law that requires “an approximate and equal division of time” that children shall spend between parents. The new law essentially changed a history of case law indicating that shared custody was not the preferred outcome in divorces.
Shared custody has been the drumbeat of the National Parenting Organization, a group that believes that children fare better when they have the opportunity to spend time with both parents. However, advances to make shared custody a standard faces considerable opposition. Opponents of this provision believe that judges need flexibility to make custody decisions in specific situations and that shared custody mandates would rob them of this power.
It remains to be seen whether a shared parenting bill will become law in Utah, but it depends on whether the sentiment continues to grow. For parents who are going through divorce right now, it is important to remember that children have two parents, and that it is critical that they be able to spend time with a non-custodial parent.
Source: USA Today.com “Shared parenting time could be the new divorce outcome,”