The law passed by the Commonwealth this year, known as the shared parenting law, creates a presumption that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of a child.
This is long overdue.
We obviously know that divorce is a reality of our society. We wish it wasn't, but it is. In these circumstances, when the custody of children is involved, it is critically important a child's interest be put first. Along the way, as these family cases make their way through the system, tough decisions have to be made. In our view there is none more important than making sure the well-being of children of divorce are the first priority, and starting from the baseline that a child benefits from being with both parents — with mutual input on decisions — is obvious to us.
Of course there are exceptions. If one of the parents is a drug addict, reckless or abusive, the law provides for leeway. Matt Hale is the Kentucky chairman of the National Parents Organization. He said the new law defines 11 factors that would negate the presumption, including a parent’s drug addiction or history of domestic violence.
Divorced kids need to be with both parents and decisions, whenever possible, need to be made together. When this is not the case kids are more likely to suffer. Like we said, there are exceptions, but generally speaking kids need both parents in their lives whenever possible and both parents need to be involved in making big decisions. Mutual decisions and time together leads to healthier emotional growth and offers stability during unstable times.
Research backs this up. A study in 2017 from Arizona State University found children of divorce, no matter what the age, benefit from having parenting time with each parent. We believe this applies to the overall decision making as well.
Anyone who has been in family court knows the system is far from perfect but a law that helps make sure both parties start on equal footing, in our view, is common sense.