Create new rules for Family Court Judges to follow when deciding custody disputes. Studies found that mothers were awarded sole or primary custody in 72 percent of cases. The study, which reviewed 10 years of child custody cases, also found that, on average, courts grant noncustodial parents less than 20 percent of the child’s time.
The study also revealed that the states' Family Courts produce sharply different outcomes in child custody cases. For example, joint custody with nearly equal visitation arrangements are ordered in 26 percent of cases. Such variations violate State Constitutions, which requires courts to be uniform in practice across the state. Additionally, it argues that the disparity violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Consider guidelines that would allow each qualified parent to receive a minimum of 40 percent of the time with the children. A traditional child custody order gives the noncustodial parent two weekends per month plus Wednesday evenings with the children. Such arrangements equate to a little less than 20 percent of the parenting time.
Conversely, some Family Court Judges order children to live with the parents on alternating weeks throughout the year, which brings the division of time close to equal. Advocates point to research that shows children who spent significant time with both parents are more emotionally healthy and do better in school.
What is the research that supports such a schedule? Where is the data that confirms that such a plan is in the best interest of the child?Well, reader, you can spend your time from now until eternity researching the literature, and YOU WILL NOT DISCOVER ANY SUPPORTING DATA for the typical visitation arrangement with the non-residential parent! The reality is that this arrangement is based solely on custom. And just like the short story, "The Lottery," in which the prizewinner is stoned to death, the message is that deeds and judgments are frequently arrived at based on nothing more than habit, fantasy, prejudice, and yes, on "junk science."
Children's Bill of Rights
WHEN PARENTS ARE NOT TOGETHER
Every kid has rights, particularly when mom and dad are splitting up. Below are some things parents shouldn't forget -- and kids shouldn't let them -- when the family is in the midst of a break-up.You have the right to love both your parents. You also have the right to be loved by both of them. That means you shouldn't feel guilty about wanting to see your dad or your mom at any time. It's important for you to have both parents in your life, particularly during difficult times such as a break-up of your parents.You do not have to choose one parent over the other. If you have an opinion about which parent you want to live with, let it be known. But nobody can force you to make that choice. If your parents can't work it out, a judge may make the decision for them. You're entitled to all the feelings you're having. Don't be embarrassed by what you're feeling. It is scary when your parents break up, and you're allowed to be scared. Or angry. Or sad. Or whatever.You have the right to be in a safe environment. This means that nobody is allowed to put you in danger, either physically or emotionally. If one of your parents is hurting you, tell someone -- either your other parent or a trusted adult like a teacher.You don't belong in the middle of your parents' break-up. Sometimes your parents may get so caught up in their own problems that they forget that you're just a kid, and that you can't handle their adult worries. If they start putting you in the middle of their dispute, remind them that it's their fight, not yours.Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are still part of your life. Even if you're living with one parent, you can still see relatives on your other parent's side. You'll always be a part of their lives, even if your parents aren't together anymore.You have the right to be a child. Kids shouldn't worry about adult problems. Concentrate on your school work, your friends, activities, etc. Your mom and dad just need your love. They can handle the rest.
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT AND DON'T BLAME YOURSELF.