Zweig Law, PC Attorneys at Law

Changes in divorce and custody over the decades

If parents in Colorado who are getting a divorce must go to court to reach an agreement on child custody and visitation, it is likely that the judge will be amenable to both shared legal custody and an arrangement that allows the father far more time with the child than he might have had in the past. This is part of a shift over the past several decades toward fathers spending more time with their children after a divorce or separation.

Fathers who were never married and who have lower incomes are less likely to seek custody than higher-income fathers who were married. However, when the former group does seek access to their children, they are more likely to be granted it than they were in previous years. Another significant shift in how divorce plays out today compared to earlier decades is that parents are more likely to reach an amicable agreement through mediation instead of going to litigation.

According to one professor who specializes in family law, divorce laws began to change in the 1960s and 1970s along with the rising divorce rate. However, although it became less difficult to obtain a no-fault divorce, courts still worked off the assumption that children were better off with their mothers. Today, shared physical custody may still present some logistical complications, but it is far more common.

Parents who are negotiating child custody and visitation may consider a variety of different arrangements. Some parents find that having the child go back and forth on alternate weeks works well for them. A few families have even tried an approach called "nesting," in which the parents take turns living in the family home with the children who are there full-time. However, most people find that this works best as only a short-term solution as children adjust to the divorce.

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