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Should I agree to 50-50 custody?


by Jaye Taylor

Shareholder and Attorney at Buckley Law P.C.

If you are a stay-at-home parent, it's likely that spending the majority of your time with your child has been the norm since they were born. The bond that you have with your child is irreplaceable, and you may worry that your oncoming divorce and the custody arrangements that follow will threaten this.

If your child has a good relationship with their other parent, it is possible that your ex will try to seek substantial shared parenting time. Many parents have an immediate negative reaction to 50-50 parenting time: They often can't bear the thought of spending half of the time without their child. However, after further reflection, parents often see the benefits that 50-50 custody could have for their child.

Question why you are resistant to the concept of 50-50 custody

It's important that you are honest with yourself if you are automatically resistant to 50-50 custody. Wanting to be with your child for the majority of the time may seem like love, but it could be a selfish act if you are taking time away from the other parent. Some parents are resistant because they feel threatened by the radical changes that lie ahead. Sometimes they are trying to minimize their own sense of loss and abandonment. Sometimes they want to feel like they "won". And sometimes there is simply a serious lack of trust based upon the parent's own experience of betrayal at the hands of the other parent.

Think about the well-being of your child

Reflect on what arrangement will likely suit your child best. Child custody arrangements that facilitate equality between each parent can help the child to have a predictable routine. Also, if you plan to work outside the home, it may be very comforting (and affordable) to know that your child is with his or her other parent rather than with a hired care-provider. Think about the logistics, too. How early does your child have to get up in order to get to school on time? Who is going to take him/her to after school activities? If your ex is not accustomed to being a "single parent", is there some reason he or she can't learn on the job? Wouldn't you like to have a little free time now and then for yourself?

Appreciate the value of a conflict-free custody arrangement

Preserving the integrity of your relationship with your ex is important when you have a child together. After all, your child deserves to believe that she is the product of two good parents who respect one another, even if they choose not to be together as a couple any longer. Many parents, therefore, decide that reaching a 50-50 compromise is not only beneficial for their child, it is beneficial for them too! 

Jaye Wickham Taylor is an attorney and Shareholder at Buckley Law P.C. and focuses her practice on family law litigation. Jaye Taylor has successfully litigated some of the most challenging and emotionally charged family law cases in the state, involving custody of children to fathers, severe parental alienation and abduction, allegations of domestic violence and international move-away cases.

Specialties: Custody, Support, division of assets and debts, modifications, elder abuse, will contests, adoptions, domestic violence, domestic partnerships, prenups.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not act upon any information contained in this article without consulting an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. 

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