Is shared parenting supported by California courts?

When parents decide to end their marriage, it is especially difficult for the children. They did not have a say in the situation, but it has a huge impact on their lives. Many times, it means the children do not get to spend a lot of time with one parent. This can cause issues with the relationships that they have with each parent.

According to the National Parents Organization, shared parenting arrangement, where both parents get equal time with the children, is the most favorable solution. Most states have adjusted their child custody laws to follow this ideal and promote more equal parenting time. However, not every state is making this work well.

How California ranks

California family courts are sitting pretty low when it comes to supporting and encouraging shared parenting. It got a grade of D, which is worse than more than half the other states in the country. It is not even close to the top-ranking state, Kentucky, which got a grade of A for being incredibly supportive of shared parenting by having a law that makes sharing parental responsibilities the standard.

Why it got a bad grade

California does have some positive things happening with its custody laws that are moving in the right direction. For example, courts must consider how well parents work together and encourage them to be a parenting team. However, the law does not give preference to trying to work out a shared parenting solution. It generally sides with the idea that one parent will have the majority of custody rights over the other. Furthermore, the state only requires considering shared parenting when it is what the parents want.

When you look at Kentucky, it is easy to see why California got such a low grade. The state does not seem to even try to make shared custody a prevailing choice in custody cases despite how research shows that it is the leading option.