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What shared parenting means to Illinois parents and children

57554911_S.jpgThe divorce process alone is considered difficult and challenging for couples in Illinois and elsewhere. However, when children are added to the process, this can make an already difficult time more challenging. Parents must make life-changing decisions, and they are often unsure if these choices are truly in the best interests of their children.

Although shared parenting is promoted as an ideal child custody arrangement, this is not always the end result for divorcing families. In fact, based on recent statistics, roughly 24 million children across the nation live without their biological father in the home. That comes to about one in every three children in the U.S. Additionally, 40 percent of those children living in a fatherless home claim that they have not seen their father in over a year. Even more so, 26 percent state that their absent father lives in a different state.

Based on current data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 82.2 percent of custodial parents following a divorce are the mothers. Only 17.8 percent are the fathers. While government policies and campaigns have focused on reducing the numbers of absent fathers following divorce or splits, many still ignore shared parenting options.

The goal of shared parenting is to provide equal rights and responsibilities to both parents. This not only ensures that the rights of each parent are protected and proper parenting time is afforded; it protects the best interests of the child. However, it is also recognized that such an arrangement does not always meet the needs of the child. Thus, shared parenting can look different than 50-50 arrangements.

While parenting after a divorce is not always an easy process, it is a doable process that divorcing parents get through each and every day. Child custody problems can occur during and after a divorce. Therefore, parents need to be aware of their rights and options.

Source: The Gazette, "Shared parenting," Dianna Thompson, Sep. 19, 2016

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