Divorce proceedings can be long and challenging, especially if children are involved. Many Texas parents will begin the separation process by agreeing to co-parent the child or children. Acting as a united couple with regard to children after a divorce is gaining traction across the nation as lawmakers propose bills that would start with the presumption of shared parenting, rather than the traditional approach of one parent being relegated to one night a week and a few weekends a month. Parental advocate groups have been pushing for legislation and more than 20 states are considering adopting these bills, making shared parenting the presumed child custody approach when a divorce is finalized.
The new bills that have been introduced and are currently being debated are focused on requiring judges to start the disentangling process from the point of view that there will be truly equal parenting. This allows the child equal time with both parents with decisions regarding the child made together by both parents. Those in favor of the pending legislation say that children whose parents have divorced tend to fare better when both parents are involved in raising the kids after the divorce, including an equal say in the decision-making.
Opponents of shared parenting are worried that co-parenting would erase child support obligations, which could create an increased dependence on the public welfare system. They also argue that children who are victims of abuse and/or neglect may be further subjected to the abuse and/or neglect with shared parenting. Advocates claim that, barring actual evidence of abuse or neglect, shared parenting works and judges would still have the discretion to make rulings based on the best interests of the kids.
Co-parenting is not a new concept, but it is one that is becoming more favorable as fathers are increasingly seen as capable caregivers, just as much so as mothers. Child custody can be difficult to navigate for families going through a divorce, but shared parenting can nurture the relationship between each child and each parent. With the advice of an experienced Texas attorney, a parent can determine if co-parenting is a viable option and proceed accordingly.
Source: The Washington Post, "More than 20 states in 2017 considered laws to promote shared custody of children after divorce", Michael Alison, Dec. 11, 2017