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When making custody arrangements, think outside the box

When couples go through a divorce, much time is often spent determining how property will be divided and how child custody will be arranged. Each parent may be very concerned about getting to spend enough time with their children. While some children with divorced parents may primarily live with one parent and spend every other weekend with the other parent, other couples may aim for equal division of custody.

According to an article, one counselor who has worked with many divorcing couples urges parents to think carefully about the impacts of custody decisions on the children. She states that equitable and equal custody arrangements are not the same; children can spend equal amounts of time with each parent, but the custody arrangement may not be equitable, or fair for everyone involved. So, while splitting child custody 50-50 may be perfectly equal, it might not be equitable for the children who live in two different homes.

This counselor's suggestion points out another important issue with child custody. There is not a single custody arrangement that would be equitable in every family. For some parents and kids, an equitable custody arrangement may mean one parent lives in a different city or state and visits occur monthly. However, other families may find that a weekday and weekend split is the most fair for all involved.

Each of these potential arrangements could be completely wrong for one family, but work well for another family. When making custody arrangements, thinking about one's circumstances is important. If a couple divorces for instance, because of a disagreement over where they live, the custody arrangement would likely differ from a divorce stemming from another issue.

Many custody arrangements might look like cookie-cutter setups, the same as thousands of other couples' arrangements. However, custody arrangements do not have to conform to a standard. They can be created with the help of an attorney to fit each family's situation.

Source: Green Bay Press Gazette, "Theory: In divorce, equal does not always mean fair," Jamie Palmer, Oct. 26, 2012

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