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Equal time-sharing custody order can be stressful for children

Joint custody with equal time sharing between two parents is an initial presumption for a child custody order in many states and in the minds of many family law judges. In reality, these kinds of custody plans may end up taking a toll on the children involved. The system is generally handled better in Georgia and some other states where the courts are not saddled with an initial presumption that joint custody and equal sharing is the first preference.

In the joint custody arrangement, some kids have to spend two and one-half days with each parent during the Monday through Friday school schedule. When the parents live miles apart, it can be a grueling ordeal to put the children through, especially in light of their need for some sense of stability to facilitate the completion of their homework and participation in extracurricular activities. Courts tend to view joint custody in a little more rational light by fashioning more flexible and less formal plans. The courts will tend to steer away from a strictly equal division, but, in some instances, one or both parents demand equal time down to the minute and hour.

When that happens, an equal division of time is said to make the parents satisfied, but what about the children? The demands placed on the children by having to meet an equal time division are filled with pressures and stresses generated by a need to please each parent's expectations of equality. The trouble is that this kind of decision is often made without paying particular attention to what is in the best interest of the children. Rather, it tends to dwell more on the desires of the parents.

Some experts on the subject prefer the traditional "primary custodian" type of custody arrangement in which the parent who houses the children has primary physical custody with weekend time being shared. Generally, the non-custodial parent gets full weekends or alternate weekends, along with holidays and extended summer time. That general format, with many variations, for a child custody arrangement is popularly used in Georgia and many other states.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Source: thenewstribune.com, "Living with Children: Equality in custody rulings is not fair (to the kids)", John Rosemond, Feb. 17, 2015

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