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The concept of shared parenting in custody decisions

Many people feel that fathers have a more difficult time obtaining physical custody than mothers. They state that the children of divorce would benefit from a more even distribution of parental rights. Fathers' rights groups and others have been advocating for revisions to the law in several states, and they have produced many studies and statistics to buttress their case.

For example, a study in Nebraska of custody cases between 2002 and 2012 showed that more than 70 percent of the fathers involved saw their children for an average of only 5.5 days every month. Another example, culled from national census data, showed that mothers make up 83 percent of all custodial parents.

The concept of shared parenting, however, is gaining momentum. Many state legislatures are working on bills that would modify the way that family courts deal with custody. Texas lawmakers were considering laws that would make 50/50 custody arrangements the presumed order for all family courts in their states. These efforts have been supported by recent research that shows that children benefit from the participation of both parents in their life after the divorce. Although there is little doubt that the end of their parents' marriage can be traumatic for a child, full participation from both parents after the separation seems to mitigate many negative effects.

Although the best interests of their children should be the primary concern of parents who are going through a divorce, emotions often get in the way of logical decisions. The assistance of an attorney may be of use to a parent who wishes to negotiate a particular custody and visitation arrangement.

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