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Another state considers shared child custody bill

Like all other areas of law, the manner in which parental rights and responsibilities are divided after divorce is subject to change over the years. The nature of our legal system allows for ongoing modifications of existing law as cultural and other factors change the way that we view the world. This is especially true in matters of child custody, where approaches shift over time. An example is found in a recent trend toward shared custody outcomes; Colorado parents may be interested to know that yet another state is considering a bill that would change the way that custody determinations are made.

Those behind the bill believe that family courts should begin from a position and belief that shared custody is the best possible outcome. Currently, most states approach custody matters with a focus on the best interests of the child. All decisions are made in relation to meeting that ideal. Very often, the end result is a custody determination in which one parent takes on the bulk of parenting time and responsibilities, while the other receives liberal visitation rights.

Those who support changes to that approach believe that fathers often receive unfair treatment. They point to significant differences in the way in which child custody cases are handled from one county to the next. That lack of certainty, they believe, places fathers in a position of being relegated to an occasional visitor in the lives of his children, while mothers can be confident in securing the bulk of child custody rights.

Those who are against the proposed change point out that courts in Colorado and elsewhere always have the right to approach each case on its own merits. Judges are empowered to make decisions that support the best interests of the children at the center of these cases. They also point out that, in most families, one party has already assumed the bulk of parenting duties. Changing that arrangement simply to adhere to a 50/50 child custody standard would be disruption in the lives of all involved.

Source: woodtv.com, "Bill would revamp how child custody decided", Evan Dean, Aug. 21, 2017

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