Law Office of Ellen Dixius

Could shared parenting laws cure bitter custody battles?

News involving divorced couples in Texas can be downright scary, but when a child is involved it can be far more devastating. From women running off to other states and countries with the children to men killing the entire family and then themselves, bitter custody battles can go from heartbreaking to deadly at the drop of a hat.

Perhaps as a result of these cases, states across America are now considering better co-parenting laws. In these instances, rather than give primary custody to you and potential visitation rights to your partner, both of you would share equal custody.

According to CNBC, doctors and other supporters of these proposals say children benefit more from spending equal time with both parents. One parent will have a difficult time poisoning a child against the other if children get to experience equal opportunities for love and shared time with both. For children who had a close relationship with both parents prior to the divorce, it also helps to ensure they do not lose that connection.

This sounds great on paper, but practical application may tell another story. For instance, many women have a genuine reason to fear the father of their children. They may have been abused for years before finally devising the means to make their escape. Shared parenting laws might put even more pressure on these women to prove that they were, in fact, abused. This may prove especially difficult for women who did not report their partners and kept the abuse secret out of fear or embarrassment.

Naturally, this is not meant to discourage you from shared parenting. There are certainly many parents who are unfairly separated from their children who may benefit from these scenarios — not to mention the actual children. Nevertheless, there is still a risk of judges assigning women (and sometimes men!) to a life of fear by forcing them to share equal custody with an abusive ex.

This article provides information on shared custody laws. It should not be used as legal advice.

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