In Pennsylvania and other states, divorce courts are slowly beginning to favor shared parenting agreements after couples who have minor children decide to end their marriage. Even though advances in shared parenting has been made, U.S. Census data still shows that in the vast majority of cases courts still give the mother physical custody. Although this can be frustrating for fathers, there are reasons they should not give up getting the parenting time they need and deserve.
One reason that fathers should continue to fight for shared parenting is because, although this type of arrangement is still uncommon, changes are occurring. In Pennsylvania, for example, joint custody is recognized as a viable option for two parents going through a divorce. Other states are also in the process of enacting shared parenting laws. Further, there is evidence that shows that shared parenting is in the best interest of most children when their parents can no longer be together.
Another major reason to seek shared parenting is that this type of custody arrangement often leads to fewer fights between the parents. As a result, the amount of time spent in court is minimized, meaning parents are spending less in court costs and legal fees. It is also a more harmonious way to live, so the children benefit.
While shared parenting certainly has benefits for most children, there are certain circumstances where the it may be more appropriate for one parent to have sole physical custody, particularly in cases where the other parent has a history of domestic abuse or drug and alcohol abuse. A child custody attorney may demonstrate that the other parent is not able to properly care for children while arguing that it is in the children's best interest for the client to have sole custody.