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Increasing number of states supporting custody law reform

Kentucky parents who are going through a divorce may not know that there is a push for child custody law reform in several states. Traditionally, courts have favored mothers when it came to awarding physical custody, with fathers being relegated to visitation schedules. Some states, however, are now realizing that shared parenting may be of more benefit to the children.

Currently, only a handful of states have actually enacted shared parenting laws. These include Arizona, Missouri, South Dakota and Utah, but at least 20 more states are considering similar measures. Arizona's law has been deemed a success. It emphasizes shared parenting time and equality in parental involvement and responsibility after a divorce, instead of focusing solely on physical custody and visitation. This type of law makes the best interests of the child the central concern. Under Missouri's law, judges are prohibited from making custody decisions based on the age of the child or the parent's gender.

There are some critics of these laws, including some state bar associations and feminist organizations. However, shared parenting laws seem to be having a positive impact and supporters expect more states to continue enacting reforms.

Child custody can be a contentious and emotional part of the divorce process, especially when young children are involved. While joint legal custody, which involves decision-making, has become fairly common, there are still some judges who are reluctant to award shared physical custody. As a result, parents who are in favor of that may want to have their respective attorneys assist in negotiating this type of an agreement.

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