Mandating Equal Time Parenting?

Here’s a nice article on mandated equal time parenting from the Arizona Family Law Blog. The article describes and then criticizes a movement by fathers’ rights groups to have every state legislature mandate a presumption that equal time parenting is best for children of divorce.

Mandating a presumption of 50/50 custody is a bad idea. The attempt to mandate 50/50 as a starting point in a custody case completely obviates 30 years of research and case law on the issue of “best interest of the child.” Despite the position taken by these groups that there is no scientific data on the “best interests” standard, psychologists and psychiatrists around the country have withstood Daubert challenges, with findings that their research is scientific. There is an abundance of literature supporting the standard, beginning with “Beyond the Best Interests of the Child,” by Goldstein. Freud and Solnit have published research and case studies, and peer-reviewed articles on this standard have been published for years in scientific journals. (See, eg, “The Scientific Basis of Child Custody Decisions,” edited by Robert M. Galatzer-Levy and Louis Kraus, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1999). While there are continued challenges to the use of psychometric tests in custody litigation, there should be no question that the focus of all such litigation should be what is best for a child, not the so-called “rights” of the parent.

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