Friday, July 26, 2013

A Response to Arguments Against Shared Parenting

Attorney Bill Eddy offered these Thoughts on Shared Parenting Presumptions – Part I where argues against a shared parenting presumption. His arguments seemed rather poor to me and I entered this response. Since I don't know if this comment is going to be allowed (it hasn't posted yet), I repost it here, so it doesn't get lost:

"Thanks for this post and for raising these issues, which I am currently researching both for personal and scholarly interest. My understanding of them is very much in development. But, based on my understanding of these issues so far, I have these reactions. 
First, a shared parenting *presumption* does not *impose* relatively equal parenting time: that would be for a final judgment. 
But a presumption is just a presumption, and presumptions can be overridden for good reasons. 
My understanding is that now, in most states, there is at least a “de facto” presumption in favor of one parent having the child(ren) most of the time. I do not know if this is an official presumption anywhere (again, my knowledge here is limited) but at least in my state, ‘the system’ is set up that way: e.g., the child support system presumes that one parent will have the child(ren) most of the time.
To deviate from that system, in favor of a 50/50 shared parenting arrangement, is an uphill battle: at least that’s the experience of many parents. This battle results from a defacto presumption against shared parenting. 
How “burdensome” is it to override a 50-50 presumption? How burdensome is it to override a presumption in favor of a non-custodial parent having their child(ren) every other weekend and one night a week? 
How do these burdens compare? Which presumption, at least of these two options, is a better starting place? 
You write that you “have fought for and won 50-50% schedules”. Would that fight have been easier, and less expensive for the client, with a 50-50 presumption? 
You say “it would be a step backwards to now impose such a broad presumption.” But if there is a current presumption in place, would it be a step forward to *reject* it? 
Finally, a presumption of any kind doesn’t “take away” any need for flexible thinking or anything else. A presumption doesn’t have, or needn’t have, any of the bad consequences you suggest: it doesn’t preclude flexibility, doesn’t prevent change, doesn’t prevent the need for teamwork, or anything that you mention in the second half of your essay. 
There are complex issues here, and each case is different, but as a matter of policy, I don’t see good reasons here to recommend strongly against a presumption of relatively equal parenting time since, prima facie and all else being equal, that is the best outcome for all involved, the parents and child(ren).

Again, thank you for posting this. I look forward to your future posts on this issue, and hope to find your past posts."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Parenting Time Deviation

Some good posts on parenting time deviations:

The post notes that ". . The statute, however, gives no guidelines for what the deviation should be."

And here's a case where a parent was denied a deviation:
707 S.E.2d 344 (2011) 
WILLIS v. WILLIS; and vice versa.
Nos. S10F1357, S10F1358.Supreme Court of Georgia.January 24, 2011.
Reconsideration Denied February 28, 2011

Friday, July 12, 2013


Creating a legal presumption for shared parenting is much more difficult than making changes so that it is a more readily available option. It seems to me that the current system makes a shared parenting option hard to exercise because of 
(a) the 'primary physical custodian' designation [which is not legally required: the law doesn't require that there be a primary physical custodian] and 
(b) the child support system being built around that person and 
(c)  there being no standardized way to factor parenting time deviations (at least according to what most lawyers say, as far as I know), thus a 'battle' to deviate away from the formula as it currently is with the primary physical custodian receiving a windfall, sometimes. 

It seems to me that a better system would begin by: 
(1) asking what sort of parenting plan or time with the child is sought and presenting some options for parenting plans, ranging from 50-50 with various schedules, to various other options, ending in an 'every other weekend and one night a week' and 
(2) some kind of child support 'formula' that addresses these different scenarios. 

Obviously the state will allow 50-50 shared parenting, but people have to work hard to make it happen. If it were a more readily available option, that would likely make it more readily exercised. 

It sounds like what I am suggesting is that there be no official presumption of any custody arrangement. This would be better, I think, than the current at least de facto presumption that the children be with one parent most of the time.

Friday, July 5, 2013

GA Organizations and Efforts

Recently found!

Fair Family Law Project 

Guideline Economics 

Rogers Economics: 

Reposting a relevant story

Found on

New Arizona law encourages more joint parenting

BY: The Associated PressPublished: December 26, 2012 at 9:37 am
New Arizona law encourages more joint parentingAn Arizona law that goes into effect Tuesday encourages divorced parents to do more joint parenting.
The law requires courts to adopt plans that increase as much as possible both parents’ time with a child and forbids judges from giving one parent preference based on the parent’s or child’s gender.
The Arizona Republic reports ( that, under the new law, judges now must fine any parent who lies to the court or tries to delay court proceedings. Such fines were previously optional.
Physical custody will now be called parenting time and legal custody will now be called legal decision-making authority. Parents with decision-making authority have power over decisions of a child’s health and education and over personal-care matters such as haircuts and ear piercing.
There are stricter reporting requirements for parents to notify the other parent when they move a significant distance away. And the new law still requires judges to make decisions based on the children’s best interest, but their best interest now includes maximum time for both parents.
“We are moving away from the every-other-weekend custody arrangements or Mom automatically being named the custodial parent,” said Mesa family-law attorney Billie Tarascio.
The law is among a handful of new statutes that take effect Tuesday.
The new laws include a measure that increases the continuing-education requirements for real-estate brokers and makes changes to the course requirements.
Arizona is among the states leading the push for shared parenting time.
A handful of other states have passed similar laws aimed at parents in recent years. Unlike Arizona, which gives judges authority to decide exactly how much time each parent gets, many states have minimum requirements. Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and North Dakota, for example, now require that each parent get at least 40 percent parenting time.
The standard visitation of every other weekend and one night a week adds up to about 20 percent parenting time for the non-custodial parent.
Other states have considered increasing parenting time. The Minnesota Legislature passed a bill this year to give the non-custodial parent at least 35 percent parenting time, up from 25 percent. But the governor vetoed it.
Advocates for mothers’ rights say the laws are a ploy to help fathers. Groups that combat domestic violence are watching the effort closely to assure it doesn’t expose children to an abusive parent.
The Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence initially opposed the law but later changed its stance to neutral after lawmakers made some adjustments.
Phoenix family-law attorney Tom Morton said he doesn’t expect a flood of parents seeking changes in their parenting time as soon as the law goes into effect. He said the change will likely be gradual. Courts require that a parent have some sort of change in circumstances before requesting a change in custody arrangements, and a change in law would not apply.

Read more: