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The growing trend of shared parenting and its benefits

When parents in New Mexico and elsewhere are going through a divorce, they might have an idea what a child custody arrangement will look like. However, the dissolution process often reveals not only the needs of the children but also the challenges and needs of each parent. Nonetheless, shared parenting or equal custody is a growing trend among divorcing parents across the nation.

The popularity behind this growing trend is the presumption that children will be raised by both parents post-divorce. As a result, 20 state legislatures have considered implementing such laws last year. However, the presumption with these laws is not to result in 50-50 custody but rather promote a shared custody situation.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only about 17 percent of custody cases result in shared parenting arrangements. Nonetheless, several research groups across the nation have recently endorsed shared parenting. These groups clarify that shared parenting is not synonymous with joint custody since joint custody can be legal, physical or both. The major benefit that these groups emphasize is that shared parenting allows a child to live with each parent at least 30 percent of the time. Moreover, it makes decision-making more equal and fair for the divorced parents.

Shared parenting could provide the flexibility that a child might need while they acclimate to their new post-divorce life. When it comes to the best interests of the children, some parents find shared parenting to be the most effective arrangement to address the complexities that post-divorce life could cause. Additionally, if a child or children have a strong relationship with both parents, shared parenting will help keep these relationships intact.

While shared custody could be the most beneficial arrangement for some divorce parents, other parents might have difficulties with this custody plan. Therefore, it is important to consider all custody arrangements. Divorcing parents dealing with custody issues should understand what options are available and how they can address these issues while also keeping the best interests of the children in mind.

Source:, "What 'shared parenting' is and how it can affect kids after divorce," Lois M. Collins, accessed on April 11, 2016

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