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50/50 Shared Custody Is the Ideal in Pennsylvania, but It May Not Be Practical for Everyone

June 12, 2020

The idea of only one parent getting custody of the children after the divorce is an outdated one. Parenting after a divorce is not a contest where one parent wins the children and the other parent loses them. In fact, Pennsylvania parenting plans are very detailed; they give parents a chance to arrive jointly at decisions about every school vacation and every extracurricular activity. Despite this, one or both parents often feel shortchanged by the number of days per year the court grants them to spend with their children. A bill currently under consideration in the Pennsylvania General Assembly proposes to make the equal division of parenting time the default option, but it will still leave it to courts to determine the children’s best interests. The family law attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates will help you get the court’s approval for a parenting schedule that works for you and your children.

What Does HB 1397 Do?

Today, most divorce cases involving families with minor children end with the court designating one parent the primary residential parent and granting visitation to the other parent. House Bill 1397 assumes that it is in the best interest of children with divorced parents to spend 50 percent of the time with one parent and the other 50 percent with the other parent. Of course, each parenting plan will be unique, customized however the parents choose, but the goal is for the children to spend substantial time with both parents.

Every Child Custody Situation Is Unique

50/50 timesharing is more practical in some situations than in others. Some parenting plans currently in place divide the parents’ parenting time equally, but circumstances change, and many families end up modifying their parenting plans later on. 50/50 custody works very well for very young children when the parents live near each other and, if both parents work, live near the child’s daycare. Alternating weeks or even transferring the child on Sunday evenings and Wednesday afternoons is not a burden on preschool-aged children.

The older the children are, though, the more complicated 50/50 timesharing becomes. It can be disruptive for children to have to keep track of their textbooks and school-related items in two households, and extracurricular activities on evenings or weekends can take away from the time parents get to spend with their children, even if the children are in their care. Weekdays with Mom and weekends with Dad is such a common parenting plan type for families with school-aged children because so many families find it the easiest to manage. HB 1397 still gives you and your ex-spouse the freedom to decide what works best for your family.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Respects Your Values as a Parent

It is in your children’s best interest to spend time with you on a regular basis, not just on special occasions. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh & Western PA for help with parenting plans.