Queens Divorce and Family Law Attorney Bruce Feinstein, Esq. Talks Shared Child Custody After Recent Reform

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Bruce Feinstein, Esq., a Divorce and Family Law Attorney in Queens, discusses the pros and cons of shared child custody after recent law reform takes effect in Missouri and across the nation.

Queens Divorce and Family Law Attorney Bruce Feinstein, Esq.

Queens Divorce and Family Law Attorney Bruce Feinstein, Esq.

For decades, it has been common practice in family law to have the child live primarily with one parent to enforce stability... the idea of one primary residence and one caregiver has started to shift.

A new law passed in Missouri aims to make divorce custody rulings about time spent with children equal between mothers and fathers. This reform is part of a larger trend seen across the country. Similar laws are in effect in Utah, Minnesota, and Arizona. These laws require court administrators to set guidelines for judges that allow for the most equal amount of time spent between the child and each parent. According to a September 1, 2016 article by US News, “it is Missouri's policy recommendation that encourages courts to maximize time children have with each of their parents.”

Bruce Feinstein, Esq., a family law and divorce attorney in New York, has been keeping a close eye on this trend and what it means for children of parents who divorce in New York. Recent studies have shown children prefer equal access to both of their parents. “For decades, it has been common practice in family law to have the child live primarily with one parent to enforce stability,” explains Mr. Feinstein. “But the idea of one primary residence and one caregiver has started to shift towards families where both parents play key roles in their child’s living situation.”

On the other side of this issue are opponents who say this approach to child custody is detrimental, if not dangerous, to children and families. Opposition groups include those against domestic violence, who have resisted shared parenting because it can give more control to abusive ex-spouses. Others say this will impact child support, drawing out litigation that is already emotional and difficult. But the domestic violence power issue has been mainly quelled, as most states with these laws allow judges to use discretion in cases where there is spousal abuse or addiction. “These kinds of laws keep judges from making their custody decisions on the basis of gender, and allow discretion to decide how much parenting time to distribute between spouses,” says Mr. Feinstein.

One issue on the horizon with these greater shifts in child custody is the growing pain associated with shared parenting over a sole caregiver. In these situations, parents must be very organized and maintain a strong schedule so that children always know where they will be. “Children need structure, so families with shared custody need to make sure their children always know who is picking them up from practice, where they are sleeping that night, and when they can expect to go to their other parent’s home,” explains Mr. Feinstein. “Problems arise when there is miscommunication, and since this is already a difficult time for children, parents must remember that the wellbeing of their children is front and center.”

The Law Offices of Bruce Feinstein has nearly two decades of experience in divorce and family law, helping clients and families resolve their issues and move forward with their lives. If you are thinking of getting married or divorced and want more information visit feinsteindivorcelaw.com or call (718) 475-6039 to reach the New York office.

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