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California law makers asked to encourage shared child custody

The head of the National Parents Organization of California is requesting lawmakers to pass legislation that will force courts to order shared parenting in divorce cases that do not involve neglect or abuse. She underscores that shared parenting should not involve one parent caring for the children for two weekends every month while the children spend the rest of the time with the other parent. According to her, joint child custody, or shared parenting, is professed to be the preference of family courts while, in fact, true shared parenting is hardly ever ordered in California courts.

Alarming figures were revealed by a report issued by the U.S. Center for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Bureau of the Census. Children -- nationwide -- who are members of single-parent households without equal visitation with the second parent were the subject of the report. It revealed that nine out of every 10 runaway and homeless children and just over eight in 10 youth prisoners are products of such homes. Seven of every 10 teenagers that drop out of high school, and about six in 10 teenagers who commit suicide did not experience the love and support of both parents.

In many cases, the parents are equally fit and eager to remain a part of their children's lives but fail to agree on a workable plan to achieve this. It is also not uncommon for parents to be angry and emotional during divorce proceedings, and this is when a court could order parents to communicate and arrange equal participation in parenting. The head of the National Parents Organization claims that courts often resort to the traditional schedule of two weekends with the father and the rest of the time with the mother. She asserts that minimal alterations would bring about massive changes.

California parents who are considering divorce may understandably be concerned about their children's futures when reading these alarming statistics related to single-parent households. An experienced family law attorney may provide support and guidance in methods to resolve contentious issues related to child custody. Many couples choose to utilize the services of a divorce mediator, alongside their respective legal counsel, to assist them in reaching agreements through communication and compromise and drafting a workable parenting plan that will protect the interests of the children.

Source: mercurynews.com, "Michelle Glogovac: California family courts should increase advocacy for shared parenting", Michelle Glogovac, Feb. 6, 2015

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