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Published On: Mon, Jul 6th, 2015

Is It Time to Make Changes to Child Custody Legislation?

The prevailing idea of 1 out of 2 marriages end up in divorce has been debunked many times over in recent times. Here are some quick statistics provided by the CDC:

  • Number of marriages: 2,118,000
  • Marriage rate: 6.8 per 1,000 total population
  • Divorce rate: 3.6 per 1,000 population (44 reporting States and D.C.)

While these figures do not make a distinction between divorce of a childless couple and divorce of a couple with children, the latter is an issue that has a grave impact on everyone involved – especially the children.

Studies have shown that when divorced parents share custody, it’s better for the health of the children – mentally, emotionally, and even physically.

However, child custody is not as simple as both parents agreeing to shared custody.

When parents battle over the custody of their children, they usually have to take things to court. That’s when things get even more complicated.

Legal family matters – including child custody cases – depend on the state. However, there is a standard called The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which facilitates cooperation between states.

California, for example, has its own laws, but these laws also adhere to The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. According to Pasadena Child Custody Lawyer Ted Khalaf, California law takes into consideration several factors when dealing with these cases. The main priority is to ensure the child’s best interest. Other factors include the child’s age, emotional ties, and history of family abuse/neglect, among others. But who is to say, when all is said and done, that the ruling truly has been made for the child’s best interest?

In spite of the guidelines and implementations found in the law, real-life situations can get really nasty.

photo/ Michael Jamoluk via pixabay.com

photo/ Michael Jamoluk via pixabay.com

Actress Kelly Rutherford (Gossip Girl) had to go through one of the more difficult cases when, three years ago, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Beaudet ruled in favor of the children’s German father, who was ordered to moved to France with the children due to having his US visa revoked and blacklisted. One can only imagine how this ruling was justified!

Good thing there’s a happy ending to this story. In May 2015, California Judge Mark Juhas, the replacement of Judge Beaudet turned things around and required the children to be immediately brought back to the U.S., with Rutherford gaining temporary legal and physical custody.

Whatever the details of child custody law in a state may be, there is a common thread: the judges presiding over the case practically has the power to make the decision. Even with the law as a guide, a judge has to use personal discretion to make a ruling – and one can’t deny that subjectivity may play a part. Imagine the burden that puts on an individual – even a judge!

That is why there is a rising movement, which advocates changes in child custody laws. In Lexington, Michael McGuirk has started a petition to make the law more child-centered. In a nutshell, his case is for shared parenting unless one parent is declared unfit. He says, “Too many children and adults I know have unnecessarily suffered growing up under single parenting”.

Robert Franklin of the National Parents Organization shares the same opinion in an articled published in May 2015. He writes:

“…the default position for family courts is to separate children from one parent when the adults divorce. That damages children, and they show it. By contrast, shared parenting post-divorce is the best arrangement for children, as massive amounts of social science demonstrate.”

Considering all of the above, perhaps it is indeed time for the government to take a closer look at the current state of child custody laws and make some changes that will fully benefit the children. After all, they are the future of this country.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

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  1. Who Is The Best Divorce Attorney | divorce.showjewellerybox.org says:

    […] Is It Time to Make Changes to Child Custody Legislation? – According to Pasadena Child Custody Lawyer Ted Khalaf, California law takes into consideration … By contrast, shared parenting post-divorce is the best arrangement for children, as massive amounts of social science … […]

  2. CJ Stevens says:

    “…the default position for family courts is to separate children from one parent when the adults divorce. That damages children, and they show it. By contrast, shared parenting post-divorce is the best arrangement for children, as massive amounts of social science demonstrate.”

    This has not Montana’s statutory position for at least 20+ years, and I doubt it is in the uniform code. Shared parenting is the default position. The desired result in shared parenting is to maximize each parent’s time. That implies a precise 50/50 schedule — unrealistic even with the most cooperative families. Apportioning parenting time is based on factors like each parent’s availability, but the child’s needs will trump the parents’ desires. A parent would need to prove that shared parenting or increased time with the other parent is detrimental to the child’s best interests. Event then, the ‘detrimental’ parent would likely at least have supervised time a couple times a week.

  3. Alan says:

    This is way past due.50/50 parenting and 50/50 financial payment of cost of raising a child is common sense and reasonable

    • CJ Stevens says:

      50/50 often isn’t equitable. (I’m not arguing its merits to the child here.) If the parents have equal income and expenses, it’s closer to equitable, but other factors come into play. How far apart do the parents live? If it’s far enough that school transportation is going to be problematic, perhaps the long commute isn’t the best for the child. Or if one parent is regularly out of town or works long hours, child care should come second to time with the other parent. For instance, it’s during the school year, you landed a good part in a movie … that’s shooting in Malta for the next six months. Well, okay, I’d bring the kids and be the sweetest ex-wife you ever met. But in a daily-grind kind of mindset, some parents’ schedules aren’t conducive to full-time parenting for six months, whereas they can shuffle things around to concentrate on it for a week but not as a year-long schedule. But, I agree, it’s a lovely when parents are friendly and stay within the kids’ school district. That’s common where I live. Parenting schedules can be very plastic things when the nuts and bolts fit.

  4. Whit says:

    “Gossip girl” Kelly rutherford is an alienating parent.She repeatedly did all she could to interrupted and eliminate the childs father from the kids lives. This article should get it’s facts straight before publishing.

    • Your Name... says:

      Are you a personal friend of hers?? Otherwise, I see no way for you to have firsthand knowledge of her situation, other than what you chose to believe is true, as reported in the media!!?? Remember, before you make uninformed judgmental comments about others lives, that there are always 2 sides to every story!!

      • Growing says:

        We do have first hand knowledge of what happened, IT’S IN PUBLIC COURT DOCUMENTS! She refused to inform her ex-husband about the birth of her daughter and put his name on the child’s birth certificate. She admitted to falsely accusing her ex-husband of participating in legal crimes so that his American visa would be revoked, and telling her son to scream and try to get away from his father if they were in an airport and tell people that he wasn’t his father and many other things. She tried any and everything to try to keep those kids from their fathers.

        Remember before you try to give someone else advice, remember that everyone is NOT uninformed, misinformed, or talking out of their ass.

  5. Family Law Divorce Guidelines says:

    […] Is It Time to Make Changes to Child Custody Legislation? – In spite of the guidelines and implementations found in the law, real-life situations can … He writes: “…the default position for family courts is to separate children from one parent when the adults divorce. That damages … […]

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