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Courts and states increasingly favor shared custody

For Pennsylvania fathers who are going through a divorce, the thought of losing regular access to their children could provoke a great deal of anguish. However, an increasing number of jurisdictions across the United States now strongly favor shared physical custody arrangements, especially when fathers are seeking it.

Shared parenting means that the child spends approximately equal time with both parents who each have important input in decision-making and participate in raising the child. Shared custody helps to ensure the strong involvement of both parties in a child's life. Numerous studies have found that shared parenting is a great benefit for children's emotional and physical health.

While family courts often award physical custody to mothers, when fathers want it there is an increasingly strong preference for shared parenting and true shared custody. In a number of states, laws have been enacted that impose shared parenting by default in custody orders, absent domestic violence or abuse. Many others have proposed legislation to implement such a position.

Shared custody isn't just backed up by the emotional gratification it provides. Numerous child development professionals have affirmed that shared parenting and joint custody are in the best interests of children. A study showed that this arrangement benefits children's health and substantially lowers their level of stress.

A father whose marriage is ending might want to meet with a family law attorney to see what type of custody arrangement might be appropriate and how to go about seeking it. Attorneys will remind their clients that courts will make these decisions based upon the best interests of the child.

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