Joint Custody Becoming the Norm

Joint Custody Becoming the Norm

In the not-too-distant past, divorce usually meant the mother would receive sole custody of the children with the father allowed to see the children on the weekend or over holidays.

This practice appears to be going by the wayside and, if Wisconsin Court Records of the past 20 years are anything to go by, joint custody is becoming the norm.

A new study, published in the journal Demography, reviews the current custody environment in the United States.

Researchers report that the guiding principle of the “best interest of the child” has now become standard in deciding on custody matters.

This new posture overturns the divorce court philosophy that dominated most of the 20th century where most children ended up living with their mothers after their parents’ divorce — a philosophy that conformed to gender norms that viewed mothers as better caretakers of especially young children.

Since the turn of the millennium, the custody policy of many states has become gender-neutral and encourages the involvement of both parents.

Written by Rick Nauert PHD.  To read the full article, click here.  For more information on family law and divorce matters in San Diego and/or Riverside county, please visit our website at, and follow us everywhere @jbwrookslaw.

You can love your kids or hate your spouse- but you can’t do both

Headlines this week: “Woman arrested for parental alienation in New York.”

Mom, who had primary custody of her two daughters, was accused of programing her children to hate their father. Mom made the father come to her driveway for Hanukkah celebrations in the middle of winter outside; she uttered the words, “I wish you got cancer,” in the presence of her darling children; and, she trashed gifts from dad and his relatives.

These actions were not only condemned by the court, but a Long Island, New York judge sentenced a woman to six weekends in jail for repeatedly undermining her ex-husband’s relationship with their two daughters.

Apparently, even celebrities are afflicted with this problem: Dennis Hopper‘s (of the film Easy Rider) daughter was forbidden to attend her own father’s funeral because Mr. Hopper insisted that his ex-wife be banned from the ceremony and his daughter lived with mom.

Published on  To read the full article, click here.  For more information on family law and divorce matters in San Diego and/or Riverside county, please visit our website at, and follow us everywhere @jbwrookslaw.

Equal Child Custody Revisited

Several months ago I submitted a blog entitled “Why Equal Child Custody Should Not Be Presumed.” It is accessible on the Huffington Post Divorce Website in permanent archives. In that blog I stated that one size does not fit all and that I believed the statutory policy requiring 50/50 equal custody should not be the law.

I have received some comments where people have been very upset over my position.
In the state of Michigan where I practice there have been proposals in the legislature to have the statutory presumption for joint, equal, physical custody. The law has not been passed as of this date.

The general view of the attorneys who specialize in family law is that one size does not fit all. The view is that custody and parenting time should be decided on a case by case basis without a mandate or rebuttable presumption.

There clearly is a trend in Michigan and elsewhere towards a sharing of custodial arrangements.

There is also a trend to get away from some of the arguments over semantics. In Michigan there is a presumption favoring joint legal custody, which means that in almost every case the parents are to share in any major decision making consistent with the best interests of their children. This covers medical issues, school related issues, religious issues, and extracurricular activities by way of example.

Written by Henry Gornbein. To read the full article, click here.