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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Shared parenting may offer benefits for everyone

Tennessee parents who are ending their marriages will need to make decisions about the care of their young children. While some courts cling to antiquated custody and visitation ideas, viewing men as breadwinners and women as homemakers, more courts are turning towards shared physical custody as the model of choice following divorces.

While shared parenting and custody are often discussed in the media, courts still award physical custody to the mothers in an average of 80 percent of the cases nationwide. While women may view receiving custody of their children as if they have won the battle, they may find that this type of arrangement leaves them unable to work.

Shared parenting is an arrangement in which the parents share nearly equal amounts of time with their children. This allows both parents to assume responsibility for raising their children on an equal basis while also helping both to be able to earn reasonable incomes. Children also benefit by developing good relationships with both parents, helping them to become better-adjusted and happier.

Child custody and visitation decisions should be made in the best interests of the children rather than in the interests of either parent. In many cases, children may benefit the most if they are able to spend equal amounts of time with each of their parents. While shared parenting arrangements may be good solutions for many people, they are not appropriate for all situations. In cases in which there has been a history of abuse, domestic violence or problems with alcohol or drugs, other types of custody orders may be more appropriate. Parents who are undergoing custody disputes might want to discuss their particular situations with experienced family law attorneys who might suggest the types of arrangements that might be the most beneficial.

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