In decades past, child custody after divorce has almost always been the same. One parent is awarded physical custody of any children involved, and the other receives visitation. A new bill in Massachusetts seeks to sweep the old model of custody rights away in lieu of a more equitable shared custody plan.
The goal of this bill is simple — allow children to have time with both parents. Authorities on the subject have asserted that, providing there are no extenuating circumstances, children deserve to see both of their parents on as regular a basis as possible. This recommendation was birthed from over two-and-a-half years of research.
Additionally, Massachusetts parents going through an otherwise amicable divorce might be able to avoid conflict over fighting for child custody if it is a given that both parties will be able to see and spend time with their children. When the courts typically default to the principal parent, it can create animosity and strife between a divorcing couple. Instead, this bill would push for divorced parents to work together on determining a child custody plan that will benefit everyone involved, especially the children.
Ultimately, barring circumstances such as domestic violence, it can benefit the children of divorced parents to be permitted to see both of their parents equitably. If a parent is unable to follow through with the commitment that they agreed to, courts would likely intervene to adjust the arrangement. Otherwise, parents working through a divorce can avoid any further conflict by agreeing to a mutually beneficial shared custody plan rather than fighting one another for sole physical custody.
Source: Sentinel & Enterprise, “Shared-parenting bill will benefit kids“, April 29, 2014