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Connecticut might consider shared child custody

Changing the way in which judges resolve disputes over the custody of children has been the focus of a legislative task force in Connecticut. One of the questions legislatures are hoping the task force will resolve is whether the state should abandon the traditional policy of allowing judges to award child custody to just one parent. Proponents of shared custody argue that the best interests of the child favor a system under which both parents share equally in raising a child.

Traditionally, judges in divorce or child custody proceeds have been limited to resolve custody disputes by designating one party as the custodial parent and granting visitation to the other. The limitation with such arrangements has been that the noncustodial parent is usually removed from having an influence on the day-to-day decisions associated with raising a child. Supporters of shared parenting contend that a law favoring joint custody, except in cases where there is evidence proving substance abuse or domestic violence on the part of one of the parents, is preferable to the current system that exists in most states.

Some people suggest that as important as maintaining a relationship between a parent and a child might be, doing so through child custody orders mandating equal parenting time might invite further bickering and conflict between the parents. Some states have responded to this criticism of equal time with each parent by considering proposals for joint custody in which there is a reasonably equal sharing of time.

Both sides in the debate over child custody agree on the importance of maximizing the ability of both parents to be involved in raising a child. An attorney might be of assistance to a parent who has questions and concerns about child custody and shared parenting.

Source: USA Today, "Shared parenting could be new divorce outcome", Jonathan Ellis, January 27, 2014

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