Shared parenting can help moms, dads and kids

Divorcing Minnesota parents and their children could all potentially benefit from a child custody model that expects both parents to maintain a full role in their children's lives following divorce. Shared parenting, a popular model for child custody around the world, can help more women to avoid poverty and remain active in the workforce while promoting closer relationships between fathers and children.

Despite the fact that a growing number of women work full-time, family courts award sole physical custody to mothers in over 80 percent of the cases they rule on. While this percentage declines dramatically when fathers actively seek custody in the courts, the traditional award can restrict divorced women's earnings as well as keeping children separate from their fathers.

Shared parenting, on the other hand, aims toward a flexible agreement in which both parents spend a roughly equal amount of time with their children and play a collaborative role in decision making. This type of model provides each parent with more time to pursue their careers while helping them to foster close and supportive relationships with their children. A number of studies have shown that children benefit from shared parenting relationships and the ongoing, trusting connections that they have with both parents under this type of model. At least 25 states are considering legislative reforms to make shared parenting a default position in child custody cases.

Child custody can be one of the most emotional and at times contentious part of a divorce. In many cases, a family law attorney can provide important advice to a parent whose marriage is coming to an end, including the negotiation of a parenting agreement.

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