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Some states shifting toward shared child custody

Colorado parents who are getting a divorce may be interested to learn that approaches to child custody are changing throughout the country. Some states have passed laws that encourage shared custody arrangements between parents, and increasingly it is believes that children benefit from spending more time with both parents.

Reports of parental alienation syndrome and studies showing that equal time with divorced parents is good for children are among the factors that have resulted in the new laws. In Missouri, Utah, Minnesota, South Dakota and Arizona, laws have been passed that encourage judges to look beyond the gender of parents in deciding what is in the child's best interests. This means that in states that have traditionally tended to keep children with mothers, fathers may now be more likely to get more time with their children.

Many experts have encouraged other states to model their laws after the Arizona law in particular. One notable feature of that law is that it focuses on shared parental responsibility in addition to custody and visitation.

Child custody can be a difficult area to navigate for divorcing parents and for the legal system. Unfortunately, it may become the battleground for parents in a contentious divorce. Parents might want to consider trying to set aside their animosity for the sake of the children and working together on a parenting agreement that allows them equal time with and responsibility for the children. On the other hand, in some cases, a parent may have genuine concerns about allowing the other parent unsupervised access to the children. For example, if there has been domestic abuse, a parent might want to go to court and argue for custody. An attorney may be able to help put together a convincing case for the judge.

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