“Shared parenting” refers to a situation in which parents are divorced or separated and children spend roughly equal time with each parent. More than 80 percent of the time, mothers are awarded physical custody by a family court judge. However, shared parenting is increasing as a custody solution. In 2016, the Florida legislature passed a shared parenting bill, but it was vetoed by the governor. Several other states have passed laws that encourage shared parenting as the default in a divorce including Arizona, Wisconsin and Alaska.
Research increasingly supports the idea that shared parenting is healthier for children. Shared parenting has been found to reduce the stress levels of children, and some experts argue that even very young children benefit from a shared parenting arrangement. Furthermore, in surveys, the public believes that shared parenting arrangements are best as well.
Single parenting can be a difficult situation for both children and parents. More children of single parents drop out of high school or end up in state-run institutions. Children of single parents also have a higher suicide rate and are more likely to run away from home or go to prison. Shared parenting is usually less expensive because it does not involve a custody battle. This also means that fewer conflicts arise in the course of the divorce.
A parent who is going through a divorce might want to talk to a Venice, Florida, child custody law firm about the possibility of shared custody. Even if there is some conflict between parents, they might be able to work with a mediator to reduce that conflict. Parents can discuss and work out potential conflict as they create an agreement that covers parameters for raising the child and may include plans for extracurricular activities and vacations.