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Families set tone for changes in child custody

Family courts have the difficult job of deciding what is in the best interests of children while also respecting the rights of parents. Whenever families can come to agreements on their own, the courts will respect that approach. Typically, in families where both parents are able and wanting to be a parent, joint child custody is the ruling that gets passed along. However, Pennsylvania parents may be interested in a push toward shared parenting.

The popular option of joint custody boils down to one parent having primary custody and the other parent having the child on holidays and every other weekend. However, some parents in one state have decided that isn't enough and isn't fair. A task force has been established to pursue the idea, and experts contend that children do better when they have access to both parents.

Shared parenting would essentially mean finding a way to divide time with the child in a 50/50 manner. However, that isn't as easy as one day here and one day there. Advocates for shared parenting -- mostly fathers wanting more time with their children -- say the system works against them and serves the best interest of the mothers more so than the child.

There may not be any easy solutions for child custody issues in Pennsylvania or any other state. When both parents want to be active and present, there may need to be modifications to parenting plans. As children grow and their needs and schedules change, more modifications may be warranted. It is important for any parent who is concerned about a child custody agreement to know their legal rights and understand the options available.

Source: lowellsun.com, Push grows for equal-time child custody, Chelsea Diana, Feb. 14, 2014

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