Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 11, 2017 – The family courts of Virginia continue to operate under the notion that sole custody following divorce or separation is more socially acceptable than shared parenting, an arrangement in which a child spends nearly equal time with each parent. Such is the traditional viewpoint in Virginia courts that deters equality between mothers and fathers, and places families on a trajectory of constant conflict after divorce.
Divorce is a stressful event in and of itself, and placing additional stress on children and their parents is needless. Due to the rise in divorce filings, January has been referred to as “divorce month.” In fact, there is research to suggest that shared parenting following divorce or separation is in the best interest of children’s health because it reduces their stress levels.
Noted Fairfax, Virginia family law attorney says, “Couples who are contemplating divorce are advised to consider all available options, including one involving shared parenting, which may well be most favorable to the child.”
Moreover, the present dynamic of winner-take-all, which is preferred by Virginia courts, tends to encourage divorce while the solution of shared parenting attempts to combat conflict among divorced couples. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association (APA), shared parenting should be the standard for children of all ages.
While the family law community in Virginia contends that family courts currently order custody arrangements that are in the best interest of the children, according to the U.S. Census, Virginia corresponds with the national average of family courts in that it awards sole custody to one parent more than 80 percent of the time.
Shared parenting implies that both parents share in the process of making decisions that are best suited for their child. Such an arrangement, which is also referred to as joint legal custody, is often difficult to implement, and can be marked by extreme discord. It requires both parents to be cooperative, to communicate in a civil manner, and to put aside any feelings of animosity in order to work together for the benefit of their child.
Lisa Lane McDevitt
2155 Bonaventure Drive
Vienna, VA 22181