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Shared Custody: The New Norm in Divorce

Posted on in Child Custody

shared custody, Wheaton family law attorney, physical child custody, domestic duties, divorce cases, family judges, shared custody cases, award child custodyYears ago, when a couple divorced, it was pretty much a done deal that the mother would get physical custody of the children, and the father would pay child support and have visitation every other weekend. Despite the tremendous gains for father's rights that have occurred in the past 20 to 30 years, there is a common misconception that mothers still receive physical custody in the majority of custody cases, leaving fathers out in the cold. However, statistics reveal this is no longer the case.

Studies have shown that in the 1980's, family courts realized that there was a societal shift in how domestic duties were being divided between married couples. In many households, the burden was no longer just on the wife, but instead, both spouses shared parenting and other domestic duties. It became even more prevalent as more and more wives began working outside the home.

This shift also affected how family judges ruled in divorce cases. Instead of just one parent receiving sole custody, many custody orders reflected shared custody, with fathers having an active role in their children's lives to be recognized by judges as being just as important as a mother's role.

A survey conducted by American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers revealed that more than half of family law attorneys across the country have seen a sharp increase in the amount of cases where the mother is ordered to pay child support. A different study, performed Mary Ann Mason, a law professor at Berkeley College, showed the biggest shift in how courts decide child custody cases is determining the "friendly parent." Many judges are awarding custody to the parent who can work with and get along with the other parent.

If you are facing a divorce and anticipate shared child custody issues, you need an experienced Wheaton family law attorney to ensure the protection of your parental rights.
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