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Divorcing New York parent? Consider shared child custody

For parents in New York considering a divorce, often one of their top concerns is how their children will be affected. The issue of child custody plays a large part in many divorce proceedings, with both parents concerned not only for the well-being of the child but also for their own rights with regards to their children. Though, historically, mothers generally receive primary custody by default, the case for equal or near-equal parenting time is a good one.

Often, courts by default award primary or even sole custody to mothers; in fact, a study recently demonstrated that this occurred in 75 percent of cases. This is despite the fact that federal statistics show some alarming correlations for children raised in single-parent households. These children account for 90 percent of homeless and runaway children; 85 percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders; 85 percent of those in prison; 75 percent of children in chemical abuse centers; 71 percent of high school dropouts; 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions and 63 percent of teen suicides.

This may in part be due to the fact that in these children are, in effect, losing a parent. In the aforementioned study, non-custodial fathers were permitted by the courts to see their children a mere 16 percent of the time. It's often not beneficial for the mother in these cases either. Mothers with primary or sole custody tend to be stretched thin between work and childcare, with 40 percent of them living in poverty.

When abuse is not an issue, it may be in both the children's and the parents' best interest to work out a child custody agreement in which parenting time is equal or near-equal. Whether a parent is only just beginning to consider separation or is already divorced and looking to modify child custody arrangements already in place, he or she might benefit from the advice of a New York family law attorney. A lawyer with experience in divorce and child custody cases can offer insight and legal counsel.

Source: San Antonio Express-News, "Co-parenting, post-divorce, eases many social ills", Robert Franklin, Jan. 30, 2017

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