During a divorce case, when considering child custody, courts will often say that the child’s best interests are most important. They want to focus on them over the parent’s best interests, what the parents want or anything of this nature.
Child custody cases have also been changing over the years. In the past, it was very common for mothers to get custody more often than fathers. Sole custody was more often granted to mothers than fathers, and they even got sole custody more than both parents shared custody.
That’s been shifting. Now, it’s most common for parents to share custody. While mothers do still get sole custody in many cases, they’re not the majority.
In many ways, this was done because it was seen as best for the child. If the child could still be with both parents, shouldn’t the court pursue that? Wasn’t it best to make sure that the mother and father were both involved?
While it certainly can be, some experts have warned about assuming shared custody is best. They claim it stems from the wrong ideal. It’s not about what’s best for the child, they say, but what is best — or “equal” — for the parents. That, they claim, means the parents and their equality is being put above the child’s best interests, as least in cases where it would be best for the child to only be with one parent but the other is given shared custody as a nod to a “fair” solution.
As you can see, the theories on this tend to shift and it’s a complex issue. For you, as a parent, the important thing to remember is that the child’s rights are terrifically important and must be honored. Make sure you understand how the courts will do that and what legal steps are needed.
Source: Washington Post, “There’s a great way to figure out child custody. Most divorce courts don’t use it.,” J. Herbie DiFonzo, accessed July 05, 2017