For decades, all states awarded custody with similar goals in mind. With scant research available, judges and lawmakers assumed that it is best for children to live in a stable home. More often than not, this meant the court would award primary custody to one parent, to the exclusion of the other. But many state legislatures are considering new laws that would balance the approach courts take to determining custody.
Last year, 20 states had pending legislation on the issue of child custody arrangements. To date, Missouri is the latest state to adopt the new laws. These new laws instruct the court to attempt to award custody on a roughly equal basis. These new laws are in response to several studies that show children lead healthier and happier lives if both parents are equally involved in their life.
Moreover, several surveys show that children prefer spending time with both parents over the stability of a single home. Luckily, it seems many states are responding and adopting new laws to reflect the research.
The courts of course still consider these new arrangements in the light of what is in the best interests of the child, but these new rules give them updated guidelines.
Disputes over child custody are complicated. They require you to submit proof of a stable home, job, free time to spend with the children, all so that the court can determine what is in the best interests of the child. If you are trying to set up a parenting plan, you may want some advice from an attorney. These issues are extraordinarily complex, and a lawyer can ensure that you do not overlook a critical piece of evidence or law.