New Reforms Push for Shared Child Custody
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Census Bureau, single parenting after a divorce can have a number of negative effects on a child’s life. Statistics show that, when raised by a single parent, 35 percent of these children account for 63 percent of teen suicides, 71 percent of high school dropouts, and 90 percent of child homelessness. It should be of no surprise that many are attempting to curb the effects of single parenting households through child custody reforms.
One group advocating for change is the National Parents Organization. In addition, as many as 20 states are considering making changes to laws that dictate which parent gets legal and physical custody of a child after divorce. Currently, according to the website of attorneys at BB Law Group PLLC, a firm specializing in divorce and family law, child custody is determined by what the court considers is in the best interest of the child. However, advocates pushing for the implementation of equal custody schedules state that equal custody is what is actually in the best interest of the child. Many are citing a recent study conducted by Swedish researchers which found that in Western countries, when children are able to spend substantial time with each parent after a divorce, the child is significantly less stressed.
Despite the newfound benefits of shared custody, others are stating that shared custody can also lead to negative effects on children’s mental health. Some believe that shared custody causes a continuous contention between parents and anxiousness for children that are constantly going back and forth between homes and parenting styles. Therefore, they suggest that while there are certainly benefits to shared custody, the best current course of action is to decide a child’s custody on a case by case basis.