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Many States Fail to Make the Grade in Shared Child Custody Statutes

 Posted on December 18, 2014 in Divorce

child custody statutesThe National Parents Organization (NPO) recently announced its 2014 Shared Parenting Report Card. This report details the first national study which gives an extensive overview of each of the 50 states and their standings when it comes to child custody. Specifically, the study examines each state’s degree of encouraging of shared parenting following a couple’s divorce or separation.

Surprisingly, courts have not made the great strides when it comes to shared custody plans as many people think they have. According to the report, custody is granted to the mother in approximately 80 percent of child custody cases, even though numerous studies have overwhelmingly proved that children do much better emotionally, physically and socially when both parents are heavily involved in their daily life.

The research team analyzed data from all the states; however, they were only able to assess data of children born to unmarried parents in 45 states. These states have laws that address both children born into marriage, as well as children born out-of-wedlock. In the remaining five states which do not have statues that address children born to unmarried parents, the team was only able to assess the information of child custody cases between married parents. In their report, the researchers point out that, according to the most recent U.S. Health and Human Services statistics, almost 40 percent of children are now born to unmarried parents.

The study rated each state by grade, based on a 4.0 GPA. The national average grade was 1.63. No state received an A. The two states with the highest rating were Alaska and Arizona. The states with the lowest were New York and Rhode Island. Other ratings were as follows:

  • Eight states received a grade of B;
  • Eighteen states received a grade of C;
  • Twenty-three state received a grade of D; and
  • Two states received a grade of F.

The state of Illinois received a C+ rating. The study lauded the state’s statute that allows the courts to award temporary custody using the same criteria as they do for permanent custody. Illinois also received positive points for specifying the importance of ""secure the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents regarding the physical, mental, moral and emotional well-being of the children during and after the litigation."

Illinois received negative points for its failure to have a statute which gives the presumption and preference to shared parenting for either temporary or permanent custody orders.

If you are considering a divorce and anticipate a difficult child custody battle, contact an experienced Arlington Heights divorce attorney to find out what your best legal options may be.

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