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Child custody laws could change to give parents equal time

In the past, non-custodial Colorado parents had to arrange for visitation with their children as a part of a custody agreement during divorce. Some courts have started growing out of the archaic mindset of calling it visitation since a growing number of parents want to remain active in their children's lives regardless of the couple's relationship status. The idea of joint child custody or co-parenting is something that some lawmakers are looking into instituting.

The governor of another state appointed a task force to examine current legislation regarding the equality of separated or divorced parents, a concept that is advocated by national and local groups alike. This group is made up of psychologists, lawyers and parents who work at the capitol. Their findings have produced a proposed new bill due to be submitted to the governor next month.

Even though this bill is in Massachusetts, the results might spark similar reactions in Colorado as well. As for Massachusetts, a staggering 30 percent of children in that state live in a split or divorced household. The idea is not to mandate an automatic 50-50 split of time, but to make it possible for more equal time except in cases of neglectful or abusive environments.

The very notion of shared parenting may not be a new idea. If the overall goal is to provide for the best interests of the child, that likely means a child needs both parents to grow into a healthy, well-adjusted adult. Colorado child custody laws currently state that judges should assume there should be "frequent and continuing contact" between the children and both parents, so it may not be far-fetched to think a similar law could gain ground in our state. In the meantime, every parent has the right to fight to be as involved in his or her children's lives as possible.

Source: lowellsun.com, Push grows for equal-time child custody, Chelsea Diana, Feb. 16, 2014

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