When a couple gets divorced, the courts will have to determine the best interests of the child when determining a child custody order. Individuals may wonder why child custody in a divorce doesn’t default to 50/50 custody. Although there are certain benefits to 50/50 custody, there are also significant downsides that could negatively affect the welfare of a child. If you are seeking legal assistance for an issue pertaining to a child custody order, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experienced Rockland County Child Custody Attorney who can help you with this complex family law issue.

Should 50/50 custody be the default in a divorce?

When the court is determining child custody in a divorce they may decide based on the parents’ relationship to approve joint physical custody or have a custody agreement. A joint physical custody agreement is where a child will spend equal (50/50) parenting time with each parent. A custody agreement appoints one parent as the custodial parent. The custodial parent has physical custody of the child. The non-custodial parent has restricted custody. Typically, they will have parenting time with the child as outlined in a visitation schedule. Some may believe 50/50 is a great option and should be the default in a divorce for custody. However, there are several disadvantages to this type of child custody arrangement. Due to the negative effects a 50/50 custody agreement can have on a child’s welfare, it is not the default in a divorce.

Although there are significant benefits to 50/50 custody, there are also downsides to this arrangement. Firstly, for 50/50 custody to work, both parents have to be willing to communicate and constantly work together to ensure each parent gets equal parenting time with the child. Parents who do not get along will have difficulty with 50/50 custody. Although the court finds it in the child’s best interest to spend time with both parents, jumping back and forth from each parent’s place can create a sense of confusion for the child. Additionally, the child will be exhausted from moving and adjusting to different schedules with each parent. Children need stability. A child is less likely to feel secure in their home if they technically do not have a “permanent” home. Too much change can negatively impact a child’s sense of stability. Furthermore, 50/50 custody is not a default because sometimes one parent is not fit to provide a stable and safe environment for their child. This could put the child’s welfare at risk. Ultimately, the courts will only order a 50/50 custody agreement if both parents are fit and can work together to ensure the best interest of the child.

If you need help understanding or fighting a child custody agreement, contact one of our compassionate and determined team members. Our attorneys are prepared to fight for you today.