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Scientists apply advanced physics to child custody arrangements

Divorced Texas parents put a lot of work into crafting their child custody arrangements, and that's just the beginning. Once their agreement is in place, they must balance their own schedules, those of their children and those of their ex to make sure that someone is always there to pick up the kids from soccer games or school. And when divorced parents have children from more than one previous relationship or begin a new relationship with a person who has children from a previous relationship, handling all the competing schedules can feel like doing advanced physics.

In fact, in a recent study, physicists tried to find an optimal solution to balance schedules in child custody arrangements. A physicist who ordinarily studies black holes started the study after he noticed the difficulty of juggling the custody arrangements for his own children with those for his partner's children. He wanted to find a way that he and his partner could routinely have all the children together at the same time on weekends.

The physicists and other scientists tried to solve the problem using mathematical models designed to study so-called spin-glass systems. These systems are made up of many small magnets, and their interactions with each other create a complex system.

Unfortunately, the researchers concluded that there was no optimal solution. Even the physicist who started the study said he still finds it easier to sit down with a calendar and his exes than to use a complicated mathematical equation when trying to schedule custody arrangements.

Child custody arrangements for those with joint custody take a lot of attention, and not just when the parents are crafting their original agreement. A Texas attorney can help parents to craft arrangements and help them along the way to make sure that the agreements are working for parent and child.

Source: Scientific American, "Physics Can Solve Child-Custody Arrangements," Clara Moskowitz, March 7, 2014

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