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New Study Show Significant Increase in Shared Custody Awards over Past Two Decades

Posted on in Child Custody

shared custody, joint custody, sole custody, child custody, Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family lawAccording to a new study, there is a growing trend of shared child custody, with fewer courts awarding sole custody of children to the mother.

The study was done by researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The team examined the data from Wisconsin family courts from 1988 until 2008. They looked at more than 10,000 divorce cases.

In the late 80’s and early 90’s, very few custody arrangements involved shared custody. Instead, the mother was typically awarded sole physical custody with the father awarded visitation, or parenting time.

However, the data revealed as time went on, there was a marked decrease in the amount of mothers who received sole custody and a significant increase in the amount of shared custody decisions made by judges. In the two decades of statistics the study looked at, the percentage of mothers awarded sole custody dropped from 80 percent to 42 percent.

There was no fluctuation in the number of cases where the father received sole physical custody. That number remained at approximately 10 percent.

The numbers show that in the last decade, there were more custody cases in which the mother was not awarded sole custody than cases where the mother did receive sole custody.

Researchers also found that higher income parents were more likely to have shared custody agreements than lower income parents. However, the gender and ages of the children were not found to play a significant role in the court’s decision as those two factors had previously done years ago. The conclusion of the research team is the main reason for the change in custody patterns is due to the changes in social norms.

The study did not include custody decisions for children born to unwed parents. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 45 percent of children in the U.S. are born to single mothers.

If you are considering a divorce where child custody will be an issue, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney to protect your rights and the rights of your children.
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