do "shared" custody and "sole" custody mean?
does it mean to "require" shared custody?
the law currently require forced shared custody?
Massachusetts law have any provisions for shared custody?
the shared custody bills require forced shared custody?
will children actually live if shared physical custody is required?
wrong with requiring parents to share physical custody when they get divorced?
What's wrong with requiring children to live with both parents?
does research show about the impact of shared physical custody on children?
shared physical custody mean that child support will be reduced?
What do "shared" custody and
"sole" custody mean?
different types of custody arrangements which are appropriate in different
situations. These custody arrangements are defined by law:
custody means that one parent has the right and responsibility to make major
decisions regarding the child's welfare, including matters of education,
medical care and emotional, moral and religious development.
custody means continued mutual responsibility and involvement by both parents
in major decisions regarding the child's welfare, including matters of
education, medical care, and emotional, moral and religious development.
custody means that a child resides with and is under the supervision of one
parent, subject to reasonable visitation by the other parent, unless the court
decides that such visitation would not be in the best interest of the child.
custody means that a child has periods of residing with and being under the
supervision of each parent, and that physical custody is shared by the parents
in such a way that assures the child frequent and continued contact with both
What does it mean to "require"
custody when parents get divorced means the judge must order shared custody
even if the parents do not agree and even if shared custody is not what is best
for the child. Shared custody is "forced" when the law says that a
parent is entitled to shared custody without having to show the judge that
shared custody is in the best interests of his or her child.
Does the law currently require forced shared
law have any provisions for shared custody?
Under current law, judges issue orders for shared legal custody or shared
physical custody when the parents are in basic agreement and upon receipt from
the parents of child-centered shared custody plans that are consistent with the
child's best interests.
Do the shared custody bills require forced
They require forced shared custody by creating a "rebuttable
presumption" that shared physical custody and shared legal custody are in
the child's best interests. This presumption means that the court must order
shared physical and shared physical custody without considering whether such an
order is best for the child. "Rebuttable" means that if a parent
believes that shared custody is not best for the child, then he or she must
prove it. If there is a presumption of shared custody, then a parent is
entitled to shared custody without having to show the judge anything! A parent
that demands shared physical custody would not have to show the judge that
shared custody is good for his or her child!
Where will children actually live if shared
physical custody is required?
Remember the legal definition of shared
physical custody: "Shared physical custody means that a child has
periods of residing with and being under the supervision of each parent, and
that physical custody is shared by the parents in such a way that assures the
child frequent and continued contact with both parents." The children of
divorced parents will be required to live with both parents.
Some of the bills also say that the child must reside with each parent equally.
What's wrong with requiring parents to share
physical custody when they get divorced? What's wrong with requiring children
to live with both parents?
- Is an unreasonable one-size-fits-all idea.
- Satisfies the demands of some parents, not the needs of
- Treats children as if they were property, to be divided
- Is out of touch with practical experience and social
- Forces shared custody on those children whose parents
are least likely or able to make it work
- Forces shared custody on children from low income
families whose parents cannot afford it.
- Puts children in the middle of continual parental
What does research show about the impact of
shared physical custody on children?
A number of studies have been conducted
to explore the impact of shared physical custody on children. One study found
that where shared physical custody was ordered rather than entered into
voluntarily and by agreement, children are more likely to be caught and used in
parental disputes and were therefore more likely to have social and behavioral
problems. Another found that the children of bitterly fought custody battles
that ended in the imposition of joint physical custody became psychologically
disturbed. They were significantly more depressed, withdrawn and
non-communicative than other children, they suffered from more physical
symptoms, and tended towards more aggressive behavior. Children are especially
at risk when they have frequent and continuing access to parents who are
hostile and uncooperative with each other.
Another study concluded that that no one specific kind of custody arrangement
is clearly better for children. Mental health professionals say that "one
size fits all" approaches, such as a presumption in favor of specific
custody arrangements, are likely to be harmful to families. Studies show that
shared parenting arrangements could be beneficial to children in low conflict
situations but harmful to children in high conflict situations. Having two homes
appears to more harmful when parents are in high discord than living in one
Studies point to the potential benefits of joint physical custody in cases
where the parents are able to work cooperatively. Some urge caution about any
conclusion that joint physical custody benefits children when the parents are
unable to cooperate or agree to a joint custody arrangement.
The basic conclusion of the studies on shared physical custody is simple:
cooperation between parents is what helps children adjust and thrive after
divorce, not a particular custody arrangement imposed by the courts. Children
can benefit from shared custody if it arises out of a cooperative agreement by
their parents, and they will generally suffer from joint custody if it is
imposed upon their parents when their parents are unable to cooperate. When
joint custody is imposed upon parents in conflict, the child will suffer by
being placed directly in the middle of their conflict and becoming the
battlefield upon which conflict will continue to rage.
Does shared physical custody mean that child
support will be reduced?
The amount of child support that a parent
is required to contribute is figured out using the Child Support Guidelines.
The Child Support Guidelines specifically say that they do not apply if
custody of the child is shared between the parents.
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute