At the center of many Texas divorces is the issue of who will get primary physical custody. Traditionally, family courts grant mothers sole custody based in large part on the belief that mothers are natural caregivers. In recent years, this gender role assumption has come under fire socially, politically and legally. Increasingly, fathers’ rights advocacy groups, such as the National Parents Organization, are demanding greater equality for dads in the form of shared custody.
The growing demand for shared custody is prompting judges to rethink custody arrangements. More judges are applying a “best interest” standard when deciding custody cases. In other words, judges consider what is best for the child even if means the divorced couple must co-parent. According to The Washington Post, approximately 20 states pushed for laws supporting joint custody post-divorce in 2017.
In many ways, joint physical custody may be a win-win situation for everyone involved. Generally speaking, co-parenting enhances a child’s overall well-being. A few benefits include improved academic performance and higher self-esteem. Mothers may benefit from co-parenting arrangements as well. It may give many women the best opportunity to pursue careers, education and relationships. Finally, fathers get a chance at being more hands-on as caregivers while reducing their child support burden.
More so than ever before divorced parents have implemented unorthodox custody arrangements. According to the Chicago Tribune, some divorced couples opt to live in the same house. Typically, they do not share bedrooms. The focus is on maintaining as much normalcy as possible for their children as possible. If the trend toward shared custody continues, couples living together after divorce may become more common.