Is the current evolution of parenting time agreements ignoring the best interests of children in favor of what is best for divorcing parents?
Several states are considering laws to do away with the traditional one-parent guardianship in favor of a more flexible, co-parenting model. In 2017, Kentucky led the way by enacting a law that provides both parents a more level playing field and does away with the “one day a week/every other weekend” default prominent in many custody agreements.
Illinois hopes to join the Bluegrass State as lawmakers are considering a similar bill that would modify the language of state divorce law to recognize that “the involvement of each parent for equal time is presumptively in the children’s best interests.”
Supporters want to do away with the current template approach where one parent spends significantly more time with their children at the expense of the other. Enacting equal parenting allow both parents to have a prominent presence that would enrich the lives of their children.
Opponents of HB 4113 claim that the “one-size-fits-all” approach takes the focus away from children, treating them more like property. They also fear that the bill does not account for ex-spouses who live significant distances from one another and, more importantly, parents who are overly controlling and possibly abusive.
Traditional parenting roles are ever-changing and laws should keep up with them. Questions remain as debate and one “experiment” continues. Are the changes necessary? Would a new system be beneficial or counterproductive?
Perhaps most important, are lawmakers trying to fix a system that may not be as broken as they think?