Donate Child Support Calculator
Skip navigation

Pros and Cons of Shared Parenting (Legislation)

Shared parenting refers to joint physical custody, where both parents share approximately equal parenting time and are equally recognized by the law as the legal guardians of their children.

This article is from the USA but touches on some of the issues to consider regarding shared custodial and residential parenting.

Shared Parenting Legislation
By Jennifer Wolf

Shared parenting refers to joint physical custody, where both parents share approximately equal parenting time and are equally recognized by the law as the legal guardians of their children.

According to the Children's Rights Council, there are only 6 states within the U.S. - Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin - that currently have legislation which promotes equal access to both parents.

Latest Developments

In recent years, several states have considered shared parenting legislation:

- In April of 2007, Michigan State Representative Glenn Steil, Jr. introduced House Bill 4564, which would require shared parenting in all cases except those situation where either parent is deemed unfit, unwilling, or unable to care for his/her children. The bill was referred to the House Family and Children's Services Committee on April 5, 2007.

- In 2006, participants in the North Dakota general election voted against a shared parenting initiative proposed on the ballot.

- In 2005, the New York legislature considered a shared parenting initiative. However, Bill A00330Bill A00330 was put on hold in April, 2006.

- Also in 2005, the Massachusetts legislature considered bills to require shared custody. However, in June of 2006, the Massachusetts Senate Judiciary Committee recommended against the shared parenting bills, and they were put on hold.

What's all the Fuss About?

Shared parenting has always been an option for parents. In the past, this was referred to as "joint physical custody." What is relatively new is the consideration of laws which would make shared parenting the legal standard in cases where neither parent is deemed "unfit" to raise their children.

In other words, unless one parent can effectively prove that the other is unfit, the family would be required by law to initiate a joint custody agreement, which would include both physical custody and legal custody.

What is difficult to swallow about shared parenting legislation is the "one size fits all" mentality. Clearly, we need to find creative solutions which maximize the genuine involvement of each parent. However, we must also recognize that not all children thrive when they're forced to transition back and forth between two homes.

My Personal Thoughts

I'm in favor of shared parenting in situations where both parents are equipped, willing, and able to care for their children. I also encourage parents to look for creative ways to increase the active involvement of both parents, whether custody is shared or not.

Unfortunately, shuttling back and forth between two homes on a regular basis isn't optimal for every child. That's why I encourage mums and dads to explore new ways of creating a consistent routine with approximately equal parenting time, even in situations where the child resides "full time" with one parent.

One of the most important factors, though, in making joint custody work is the willingness of both parents to reside in or near the same school district and to intentionally work together in raising their children.
Pros and Cons

Pros of Shared Parenting Legislation:

- Shared parenting ensures that the children spend approximately equal amounts of time with each parent.

- Thus, the children have ample opportunity to establish positive post-separation (or post-divorce) relationships with both parents.

- Shared parenting forces parents to work together and focus on what's really best for the children, as opposed to their own personal interests.

- Theoretically, neither parent can subvert or reduce the other parent's role in the children's lives.

- Mandating shared physical custody can lead to a reduction in bitter, destructive child custody battles, which put intense emotional strain on children following a divorce or separation.

- When shared custody is employed efficiently, the children are less likely to feel "caught in the middle" and may experience greater awareness of being loved by both parents.

Cons of Shared Parenting Legislation:

- Some parents may resist shared parenting because they differ with the other parent on child-rearing or lifestyle issues.

- There could be an increase in ugly attempts to declare one parent unfit for the purpose of circumventing shared parenting laws.

- While the opportunity to spend equal amounts of time with each parent is valuable, the actual shuttling back-and-forth between two homes can be difficult for children.

- Mandating shared parenting across the board does not take into consideration the varying needs of individual children and families.

- In cases where one or both parents are not supportive of shared parenting, the transition between two homes can be even more challenging.
Unfortunately, shuttling back and forth between two homes on a regular basis isn't optimal for every child. That's why I encourage mums and dads to explore new ways of creating a consistent routine with approximately equal parenting time, even in situations where the child resides "full time" with one parent.
Non-custodial parent could take kids to activities such as little a's that has a fair bit of parental involvement.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
Shared parenting has always been an option for parents
As has becoming a billionaire, flying to the moon…

Ooops sorry, they're far too easy in comparison. :)
How can parents share parenting when they hate each other and one deliberately does whatever he/she can to provoke the other?

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
Rise above it, personal growth, move on, lower your blood pressure, breathe, sleep, laugh - focus energy on positive activities

Llive the best life you can within your circumstances.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Actually there is a new Forum in the offering that will cover these issues. Apart from the stress of Court proceedings many parents just have ongoing problems with the other partner which cloud the real issue - the children


Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Can we have a forum where we can b**ch about the ex?  group therapy…   :lol:  :offtopic:

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.

Shared Parenting is about Shared Parenting

Can we have a facility on FLWG where information can be posted without it being sidetracked and taken off-topic via niggling, etc?!!  (Some of the comments and observations have merit but are not delivered in a format that advances the understanding and cause of shared parenting.)

As the requestor and creator of the Shared Parenting forums, I am sick and tired of them being hijacked for topics other than shared parenting and for one-liner whinings.

The alternative will be post deletions and threads being locked.

Thank you.
dad4life said
Can we have a facility on FLWG where information can be posted without it being sidetracked and taken off-topic via niggling, etc?!!  (Some of the comments and observations have merit but are not delivered in a format that advances the understanding and cause of shared parenting.)

As the requestor and creator of the Shared Parenting forums, I am sick and tired of them being hijacked for topics other than shared parenting and for one-liner whinings.

The alternative will be post deletions and threads being locked.

Thank you.
A certain site administrator who is at present overseas killing dolphins did promise to have the 6 new forums up several weeks ago. This would have solved most of these problems particularly since there will be a General/Miscellaneous area to 'dump' these posts into. There will also be an Overseas area to keep 'foreign' material separate from the home grown stuff.

Expect abject apologies and the new Forums this coming week.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
1 guest and 0 members have just viewed this.

Recent Tweets