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Some states move toward shared child custody

Some Texas parents who are getting a divorce might want to consider joint physical custody of their children. Increasingly, states are moving toward encouraging a situation in which a child spends roughly equal time with each parent.

A number of factors have contributed to this shift. One is that studies show that children benefit from spending more time with both parents. Another may be the rise in reports of parental alienation syndrome. Among the states that have reformed their child custody laws to focus on shared parenting are South Dakota, Minnesota, Utah and Missouri.

In Arizona, the shared parenting law focuses on encouraging splitting the responsibility of parenting even above the actual time spent with the child. The Arizona law is one some states have been encouraged to use as a model. In Missouri, there has been a focus on making sure that fathers have equal rights. In the past, courts in that state have been more focused on the child having a consistent physical home and staying with their mothers. Not everyone is on board with this shift in child custody. Florida opposes it as do some feminist groups and bar associations.

In a divorce, parents might want to consider trying to ensure that their child has plenty of time with each of them and that both parents participate as fully as possible in making decisions about the child and other aspects of parenting. Parents might want to use mediation if they are unable with the help of their respective family law attorneys to negotiate an agreement. While litigation is of course a possibility, many parents will be happier with a result that they have a hand in arriving at than if it is left solely up to a judge.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Bruce Turner with Bennett, Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C.

Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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