CHICAGO, Ill. — Longtime Chicago-area family law attorney Raiford Dalton Palmer’s new book on divorce, which is now an Amazon best-seller, notes a recent trend toward “50-50 parenting” laws which set the default for custody in divorce cases as equal time between parents.
In his new book “I Just Want This Done: How Smart, Successful People Get Divorced Without Losing Their Kids, Money, and Minds,” Palmer says the new laws, which have been a high priority for fathers’ rights groups, can help reduce needless litigation by putting both parents on equal footing under the law. But he warns there can be pitfalls for parents who approach the issue with the wrong mindset.
“I caution my clients against ‘balance-sheet parenting,’ where you obsess over the minutes each parent spends with a child rather than looking at the quality of that time for the child,” he said. “Divorcing parents can also run into trouble if a judge suspects that they are only pressing for equal parenting to reduce or avoid child support payments or if it seems like they are treating the children as another asset to be fought over.”
In many states, equal parenting has long been up to a judge’s discretion, but some states are now taking the idea further. Kentucky and Arkansas have both passed laws making equal parenting the standard in a divorce case, and states such as New York, Michigan and South Carolina are all considering legislation.
Palmer says that parents who want to have equal time with their children need to actively parent them during the divorce and carefully document their involvement in case of litigation. He also stressed that handling a divorce privately, either through collaborative law or mediation, is preferable to taking your chances with a judge at a trial.
“It may be hard to work with your soon-to-be former partner to develop a plan for shared custody, but it’s better than leaving it up to strangers,” he said.
To learn more about Palmer’s new book “I Just Want This Done,” visit: https://www.
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