Divorce is recorded as the dissolution of a marriage between two adults, but they are rarely the only people affected by the decision. With divorce rates at a national all-time high, it’s important to examine other statistics of the situation such as child custody and who is typically awarded custody of the children after a divorce is finalized. Residents of Texas will be interested to know that cases of joint custody of minor children involved in a divorce are becoming common across the United States.
While judges in divorce cases often favored the mother and awarded her sole child custody, Texas may want to re-think this stereotype. According to a recent study conducted by the University of Wisconsin Madison of Wisconsin Court Records pertaining to divorces with minor children, sole mother-child custody rates dropped from 80 percent in 1986 to 74 percent in 1994. Consequently, shared child custody rose from 7 percent to 14 percent in the same years. More recent numbers conclude that of the 9,873 divorce cases involving minors and child custody in Wisconsin in 2008, only 42 percent of these cases awarded the mother sole child custody. That shows a decrease in sole mother-child custody by almost half in less than fifteen years.
The most telling statistic is reported by the same 2008 Wisconsin court record in that equal and unequal joint custody of minor children rose by 37 percent collectively. This shows a significant increase in the cases of joint custody of minors after divorce.
While these statistics only show a change in the state of Wisconsin, it presents a trend that is interesting to anyone going through a divorce and child custody situation. Whether the decision for child custody is sole or shared, contacting an experienced attorney can assist during the mediation or, if necessary, the court proceedings. Every child custody case is different and it is important to remember that although statistics such as presented in UW-Madison’s study may change what is the new norm for child custody proceedings, the best interests of the child should be the main focus of the parties involved.
Source: hngn.com, “Joint Custody Of Children Is Becoming A Norm In US,” May 22, 2014