My Personal Thoughts
I'm in favor of shared parenting in situations where both parents are equipped, willing, and able to care for their children. I also encourage parents to look for creative ways to increase the active involvement of both parents, whether custody is shared or not.
Unfortunately, shuttling back and forth between two homes on a regular basis isn't optimal for every child. That's why I encourage moms and dads to explore new ways of creating a consistent routine with approximately equal parenting time, even in situations where the child resides "full time" with one parent.
One of the most important factors, though, in making joint custody work is the willingness of both parents to reside in or near the same school district and to intentionally work together in raising their children.
Pros and Cons
Pros of Shared Parenting Legislation
Cons of Shared Parenting Legislation:
- Shared parenting ensures that the children spend approximately equal amounts of time with each parent.
- Thus, the children have ample opportunity to establish positive post-separation (or post-divorce) relationships with both parents.
- Shared parenting forces parents to work together and focus on what's really best for the children, as opposed to their own personal interests.
- Theoretically, neither parent can subvert or reduce the other parent's role in the children's lives.
- Mandating shared physical custody can lead to a reduction in bitter, destructive child custody battles, which put intense emotional strain on children following a divorce or separation.
- When shared custody is employed efficiently, the children are less likely to feel "caught in the middle" and may experience greater awareness of being loved by both parents.
- Some parents may resist shared parenting because they differ with the other parent on child-rearing or lifestyle issues.
- There could be an increase in ugly attempts to declare one parent unfit for the purpose of circumventing shared parenting laws.
- While the opportunity to spend equal amounts of time with each parent is valuable, the actual shuttling back-and-forth between two homes can be difficult for children.
- Mandating shared parenting across the board does not take into consideration the varying needs of individual children and families.
- In cases where one or both parents are not supportive of shared parenting, the transition between two homes can be even more challenging.