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Virginia ranks a poor 'D' in joint child custody


When parents divorce, children suffer the most. They are apt to feel a strange sense of insecurity as parents engage in a war of words. What most spouses fail to realize is that although they have fallen out of love, their children may still want their parents to stay together.

Hence, courts in the United States, including those in Virginia, could order joint child custody. However, according to recent reports, shared parenting time is largely forgotten in many states of the country, including here in Virginia.

According to a member of the National Parent's Organizational, just as a "D" is unsatisfactory grade on a child's report card, so is a "D" in child custody statutes dissatisfactory. Everybody wants the children to do well and see scores improve.

Similarly, an improvement in child custody statutes is desired. The National Parents Organization has recently come up with a shared parenting score, based on a scale of A to F. Many in the organization are embarrassed to find Virginia with a dismal score of D minus. According to the report, Virginia does not prefer joint custody or shared physical custody.

According to some, this is a disturbing trend since research has shown that single parenting may lead to a lot of problems in children and young adults. Single parent homes can be attributed to 63 percent of suicides amongst teenagers, 70 percent of juvenile cases in institutions, 71 percent of dropouts and 85 percent of behavioral problems in children.

In the best interests of the child, shared parenting may be a desired outcome in a divorce, yet only 17 percent of children enjoy this. Divorce also has an adverse impact on a child's mental health. Hence, Virginia parents must take ownership of their responsibilities.

Source: Richmond Times Dispatch, "Leadbeater: Shared parenting is the answer to poor child custody grades," Kristen Leadbeater, Jan. 28, 2015

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