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Custody Agreements in the Twenty-First Century

Today’s child custody agreements are much different than decades ago and what people have seen in the past with other people’s custody order. Modern parenting arrangements for divorcing parents more likely involved both parents having physical custody of the children and allowing for co-parenting. Gone are the days when one parent would be forced to have every other weekend with their child/ren.

Today, 50/50 custody agreements are the new normal and even unique situations unheard of years ago are being adopted by the courts. A case-in-point involves a recent story from Chicago Tribune about one couple’s unusual arrangement.

An eccentric pact

Divorcing couple’s parenting situation are often far different the way things were done during the marriage or relationship. For example, one couple after 15 years together and two children, the couple opted to call it quits and divorce.

Instead of selling the family residence, they decided to keep it and swap time living there with the kids. With two master suites, each parent has their own personal space. Every two weeks, one parent moves back in and the other parent moves back out.

For this couple, the arrangement is great for the kids. It allows them to have one place where they call home, a place they know and feel comfortable. Courts like to have children’s lives not be disrupted by a divorce as much as possible. While this situation is not typical it is an example of how modern custody is far different than the legal system’s results of long ago.

Thinking outside the box

This untraditional pact is not viable for everyone, but this story does provide inspiration for couples with children contemplating divorce who may be jittery over the forthcoming custody arrangement.

It sends a message that custody arrangements today are not a one-size fits all. Parents are encouraged to come up with their own arrangement—in one form or another.

Considering 50/50 custody

Courts today, however, encourage parents to individualize a plan that includes a joint custody arrangement. One study published in Science Daily in 2017 indicates 50/50 arrangements are beneficial to children.

Researchers from Uppsala University and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (CHESS) based out of the University of Wisconsin studied roughly 3700 kids of divorced parents age 3-5 years. They determined that children who lived in 50/50 custody households exhibited fewer behavior problems than kids living primarily with one parent.

The takeaway? Parents are encouraged to think outside the box and agree on a custody or visitation arrangement that works for them and their children, even if it is unconventional.