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Shared parenting laws becoming more common in U.S.

San Jose parents may have noticed that child custody reform laws are becoming more common in the United States. For example, Missouri has passed a shared parenting law that takes an egalitarian approach to fathers' rights in child custody cases. Minnesota, South Dakota and Utah have similar bills.

According to experts, more states are embracing shared parenting laws in response to studies that show children benefit from spending equal time with both parents. A rise in parental alienation cases, where one parent allegedly brainwashes children against the other parent, is another possible reason state governments are changing their laws.

Arizona passed a shared parenting law in 2010 that is considered a model for other states. The legislation goes beyond matters of custody and visitation and encourages equal parenting time for both parents. Meanwhile, Missouri's shared parenting law aims to give fathers a fair shot at gaining child custody in a legal environment that often favors placing children with their mothers. The law prohibits judges from considering a parent's gender or a child's age when making custody decisions and places a high value on parents having a reliable physical dwelling. The Wall Street Journal reports 20 other states have pending child custody reform laws.

While joint legal custody is now fairly common across the country, shared physical custody is still in its growing stages. A father who wants to maximize his parental rights after a divorce may want to have the assistance of an attorney to provide advocacy in front of a judge if an appropriate plan cannot be negotiated with the mother.

Source: Parent Herald, "Shared Parenting Law Latest News & Updates: Why Child Custody Law Reform Is Happening All Over The US," Kristine Walker, Sept. 6, 2016

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