50/50 Presumption: Should Custody Be Split Evenly Between Both Parents?
A controversial topic in family law these days is whether courts should presume that 50/50 division of custody is always in the best interest of children in divorce cases. With a presumption that an even division of parenting time is always best, a judge begins considering the case from that perspective, and it’s up to the parent to prove that some other arrangement is better for the kids.
In reality, though, the situation is rarely that clear cut, and many factors affect the ideal custody arrangement in every divorce case.
When is 50/50 custody a good idea?
50/50 Time-sharing may be best for children when they’re of elementary school age, generally between the ages of 5 and 12. During this stage, kids benefit the most from a balanced amount of time with both parents. Shared custody arrangements only work well for children, however, when both parents are able to cooperate in the sharing of responsibilities and they can minimize the child’s feelings of being moved back and forth between households. It helps, too, if parents live close to one another, and they both have flexible work schedules to accommodate parenting chores.
When is 50/50 custody a bad idea?
When kids are younger or older than elementary school age, 50/50 custody may make less sense. Young children benefit from a single, stable household in which they spend the majority of their time, and older children usually require schedules that are more flexible than equal time-splitting allows.
Of course, shared custody is also not a good idea when there is instability in one of the parents’ homes.
The presumption of shared custody can also have a negative impact in cases where there’s an income disparity between the parents; when alimony is reduced because the parent with the greater income gets credit for sharing custody, the financial situation of the parent with less income can be put in jeopardy.
If you are currently facing custody issues, or any other family-related legal disputes such as divorce, alimony, or child support, our skilled St. Augustine family law attorneys can help. We are recognized as one of The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers, and have over 70 years of combined experience. Call today or click here to have a free consultation!