Heymann & Fletcher

Bill urges move toward joint custody standard

For most New Jersey parents, determining how to divide parenting privileges and responsibilities is a top priority during a divorce. Each family has a unique set of needs when it comes to child custody matters, and courts approach each case on an individual basis. In many states, however, there is a push toward legislation that would require courts to consider shared or joint custody as the starting point for all matters.

Those who support such an approach believe that beginning from a point of shared custody gives both parents equal footing under the law. They point out that in many outcomes, fathers are relegated to a role of an occasional visitor and has little input into the daily lives of his children after a divorce. They believe that children are best served when they spend a significant amount of time with both parents.

Those who oppose this type of legislation argue that child custody cases are very complex matters, and that judges should be empowered to make determinations that are in line with the evidence and testimony presented. They also point out that beginning from a position of shared custody places victims of domestic violence at a distinct disadvantage. Many who support flexibility in family courts feel strongly that one parent is often better equipped to provide the bulk of daily care than the other.

One state is currently considering legislation that would require courts to begin all custody cases from a position of shared or joint custody. For those in New Jersey who feel strongly about this matter, it is important to remain informed of proposed changes in family law. It is always possible to reach out and share one's opinions with the elected representatives tasked with creating new laws.

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

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