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Shifting Perspectives: The Pros and Cons of Shared Child Custody

Written by Bruce Feinstein, Esq. on . Posted in Divorce Blog

We take a look at the pros and cons of shared child custody after recent law reform takes effect in Missouri and spreads nationwide.

We take a look at the pros and cons of shared child custody after recent law reform takes effect in Missouri and spreads nationwide.


A new law passed in Missouri this month, and it aims to have divorce custody rulings equalize the time children spend with their mothers and fathers. This new reform is part of a greater shift seen nationwide. Similar laws are in effect in states like Minnesota, Utah, and Arizona. They mandate court administrators to come up with state guidelines for judges that allow for the most evenly distributed amount of time split between the child and each parent.

A recent article by US News delves into this new Missouri law, saying “it is Missouri’s policy recommendation that encourages courts to maximize time children have with each of their parents.”

Our office is dedicated to improving families’ lives and creating safe spaces for children. So we have has keeping a close eye on this trend and what impact it has on children of parents who divorce in New York. Recent studies have shown that children favor equal access to both parents. For decades, it has been common practice in family law to have the child live primarily with one parent to enforce stability. But the idea of one primary residence and one caregiver has started to shift towards families where both parents play key roles in their child’s living situation.

But there are some detractors who disagree with these laws. Opponents say this approach to child custody is detrimental, if not dangerous, to children and families. Groups who fight domestic violence have struggled with shared parenting since it can give more control to abusive ex-spouses. Other critics say this will impact child support, making litigation that is already very sensitive more difficult. However, the domestic violence dissent has been mainly allayed. Most states with shared custody laws permit judges to use discretion in difficult cases, such as those with an abusive spouse or trouble with addiction. These kinds of laws are meant to keep judges from making their custody decisions on the basis of gender, and allow discretion to decide how much parenting time to distribute between spouses.

One impending issue with these overall shifts in child custody is the overall change in mindset that needs to happen with shared parenting in lieu of a single caregiver. Going forward, parents have to be very organized and stick to a airtight schedule so that children always know where they will be throughout the day. Children need structure, so families with shared custody need to make sure their children always know who is picking them up from practice, where they are sleeping that night, and so on Problems arise when there is miscommunication, and since this is already a difficult time for children, parents must remember that the well-being of their children is front and center.

If you are looking for an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Queens, Contact the Law Offices of Bruce Feinstein, Esq. today for a Free Consultation.

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