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States starting to favor joint child custody

Tennessee parents who are getting a divorce might want to share physical custody of their children. Some studies have shown that spending roughly equal time with both parents is good for children. Furthermore, several states have changed their child custody laws to encourage joint custody.

There are a number of reasons for these changes. In addition to the studies, parental alienation syndrome might also be a concern. In Missouri, courts tended to favor mothers and a stable home environment, but a law now prohibits judges from considering the age of children or the gender of the parents when making custody decisions. This means fathers may have a better chance of being granted more access to their children.

Some states have been urged to follow a policy proposal that Arizona put in place in 2010. It does not just deal with visitation and custody but also covers shared parental responsibility. Some groups, including bar associations and some feminist organizations, are against the changes. However, many other states are considering modifying their laws.

If possible, parents can try to work together to come up with an arrangement for child custody and visitation instead of turning to litigation and having a judge make the decision. Parents may want to keep in mind that children may adjust better if they can reduce the level of conflict in the divorce. This may also set the stage for better conflict resolution as they co-parent. A mediator may help them work out some differences, and they can produce a legal document with the assistance of their attorneys. If parents cannot agree or if they agree on some points and not on others, going to court is still an option. A judge will consider a number of different factors in coming to a decision that is in the child's best interests.

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