Mothers are a critical part of our American society and of families. Importantly though, as a society, we must recognize that women and men together are indispensable partners to our country’s most valuable treasure: our children. We need to celebrate our children’s parents — both of them — as often as possible.
Still, in this modern era, people are often surprised to learn just how often courts operate with 1950s assumptions and routinely favor one parent over the other in instances of divorce or separation. Astonishingly, sole custody is awarded to one parent about 83 percent of the time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, thus creating a confrontational dynamic of winner and loser/visitor.
This practice also continues to force parents into gender stereotypes that simply no longer apply nowadays.
Moreover, thrusting parents into a winner-take-all arena only prolongs bitter custody battles that might benefit the legal community but have traumatic, corrosive and long-lasting effects on children, parents and families.
Virginia is starting to take small steps to update laws supporting shared parenting, where children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after divorce or separation. The important emphasis here is “as possible,” since an exact 50/50 split is not mandated in every single situation.
Right now, a bill supportive of shared parenting, House Bill 1351, has passed the Virginia House and Senate unanimously and as of this writing is awaiting the governor’s…