Shared parenting FAQ

difference joint custody join time share

Answers to common questions about shared parenting …

What is shared parenting? Is it the same as 50-50 Parenting?

Shared parenting means that when parents separate, divorce, or otherwise live apart, they share parenting time with the kids approximately equally. This is also referred to as:

  • 50-50 parenting
  • Time sharing
  • Joint physical custody
  • Shared residential custody
  • Joint residential custody

What is the difference between shared parenting and shared custody? Are they the same thing?

Join custody, or shared legal custody, refers to the legal decision-making by the parents. This means that for big decisions like where the child lives, education, religion, and medical care, both parents get an equal vote.

Shared legal custody is the norm, and today the majority of separated couples equally share legal custody of their children.

However, only a minority of separated parents enjoy equally shared parenting time.

Shared parenting, or joint physical custody, or 50-50 time sharing, means that the time and responsibilities for the daily care of children is shared equally. A child benefits from bonding through daily routines with both parents equally. Both parents benefit by equally sharing the responsibility of child rearing.

I thought 50-50 parenting was the law? Everyone I know has equal parenting time, and lawyers told me that is the norm where I live.

Many people do assume that shared parenting is the law. Why?

1. It is common sense, and:

2. In some areas, despite that there is no law in place to promote or support shared parenting, 50-50 shared residential custody has become the default. If enough judges order it, then the family law and divorce lawyers inform their clients that is what they should expect. These activist judges are doing what legislatures will now: Change the culture for the betterment of children and gender equality.

3. Likely, joint legal custody is the presumption and/or norm in your area — as it has been for the past 20 years. Courts seem to presume that both parents are presumed to be equally capable in making sound decisions on behalf of their kids when it comes big decisions like where the kid lives, goes to school and medical care — but not daily care. Moms for Shared Parenting and the shared parenting movement is out to change that.

Shouldn’t kids be with the mom — especially babies? Biology tells us moms are the most important parent.

That is a common assumption, and thankfully there is a lot of great research about shared parenting that shows not just how important dads are to child development — including in newborns and infants — but also that kids don’t need as much time with moms as previously thought.

This is incredibly freeing to all parties involved — goodbye mom guilt! You are now free to share parenting time, devote hours and energy to work, earning, dating, fitness, friendships and being a full woman. Whoo hoo!

Isn’t shared parenting a movement of the Father’s Rights Movement, and the Men’s Rights Movement? Those guys are abusive misogynists who just want to protect and promote abusers!

I hear this often, unfortunately. The Father’s Rights Movement has a really bad rap. Men promoting shared parenting in the name of controlling women is far, from the majority of activity now, or in the past.

There is a reason that today, in 2019, shared parenting is gaining momentum across the United States and world: Equally shared parenting is good for children, it is good for gender equality, and it is good for families.

Plus, shared parenting is simple, common sense.

What is shared parenting legislation all about?

Shared parenting legislation has been entered in more than 20 states. Kentucky became the first state to pass true a shared parenting law in 2018.

The essence of each shared parenting bill is the same:

In the event that parents separate, both parents are presumed to have equal time with the children.

There is always room for deviations, including abuse and domestic violence.

Today, the default is not shared parenting. Today, in most of the country, courts default to kids with moms the majority of the time, dads getting “visits” with their own children.

Here is the bulk of the Kentucky bill. You can read it in its entirety here.

The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interests of the child and equal consideration shall be given to each parent and to any de facto custodian. Subject to KRS 403.315, there shall be a presumption, rebuttable by a preponderance of evidence, that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child. If a deviation from equal parenting time is warranted, the court shall construct a parenting time schedule which maximizes the time each parent or de facto custodian has with the child and is consistent with ensuring the child’s welfare. The court shall consider all relevant factors including:

(a) The wishes of the child’s parent or parents, and any de facto custodian, as to his or her custody; 

(b) The wishes of the child as to his or her custodian, with due consideration given to the influence a parent or de facto custodian may have over the child’s wishes; 

(c) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, his or her siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests; 

(d) The motivation of the adults participating in the custody proceeding; 

(e) The child’s adjustment and continuing proximity to his or her home, school, and community; 

(f) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved; 

(g) A finding by the court that domestic violence and abuse, as defined in KRS 403.720, has been committed by one (1) of the parties against a child of the parties or against another party. The court shall determine the extent to which the domestic violence and abuse has affected the child and the child’s relationship to each party, with due consideration given to efforts made by a party toward the completion of any domestic violence treatment, counseling, or program; 

(h) The extent to which the child has been cared for, nurtured, and supported by any de facto custodian; 

(i) The intent of the parent or parents in placing the child with a de facto custodian; 

(j) The circumstances under which the child was placed or allowed to remain in the custody of a de facto custodian, including whether the parent now seeking custody was previously prevented from doing so as a result of domestic violence as defined in KRS 403.720 and whether the child was placed with a de facto custodian to allow the parent now seeking custody to seek employment, work, or attend school; and 

(k) The likelihood a party will allow the child frequent, meaningful, and continuing contact with the other parent or de facto custodian, except that the court shall not consider this likelihood if there is a finding that the other parent or de facto custodian engaged in domestic violence and abuse, as defined in KRS 403.720, against the party or a child and that a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either that party or the child. 

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