Proposed Changes to Custody Laws, Financial Effects on Families

Proposed changes to custody laws for 50/50 custody by default.

Our Bucks County custody lawyers try to keep families out of the courtroom. Why leave the parenting up to a judge to decide? Unfortunately, it is often the only way of getting a clear and unbiased custody agreement established for the best interests of the children. But what happens when start with 50/50 custody, and work away from there on a case by case basis? Proposed changes to custody laws could mean a very different landscape for establishing a custody agreement.

Currently, the custody laws require courts to make the ultimate decision when the parties cannot agree on how to split custody time. That can be a painful and heartbreaking process for everyone involved; however, the judge is looking out for the best interests of the children based upon the unique facts of the case. Unfortunately, many times the arrangement ends up favoring the custodial parent (usually the mother) and leaving dads wishing they had more time with their kids.

Father’s rights advocates and dads have been feeling unfairly treated by the existing custody laws. That’s where this new initiative comes into play. The new “shared parenting legislation” limits judicial discretion on custody time. Judges will either be firmly encouraged or outright required to order 50/50 custody in all cases. The burden of proof is then on the oppositional party to prove why the children should not spend half of the time with the other parent.

Another factor to consider with this initiative concerns how it will hit the pockets of many mothers relying on child support. Custody and support are separate issues and separate actions with the courts. Custody only affects support where custody time is dramatically favoring one of the parents. That parent bears most of the time and hence, bears most of the cost of raising children. At that point, the non-custodial spouse may end up with a higher payment. This may be a factor behind the newer movement to create a blanket, 50/50 custody arrangement for parents.

As this possibility develops, families will continue to have their cases reviewed on an individual basis by the courts. Conferences and hearings will stay the norm and help families work out the best possible custody arrangement for the family. The Bucks County divorce and custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael Kuldiner, P.C. have been working with families across Bucks County to keep as many cases out of the courtroom as possible. If you are faced with a custody or support case, call our office at (215) 693-6191.