Shared Custody Battle Goes Federal
Last week a federal lawsuit was filed against the state of Pennsylvania by the Indiana Civil Rights Council and like-minded groups such as the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. These and similar organizations plan to sue all 50 states and U.S. territories. At least 40 suits have already been filed, according to the Council.
The lawsuits use a wide range of constitutional grounds to argue that a child’s parents both have an equal right to custody and directly challenge the commonly utilized legal standard known as “the best interest of the child.”
The lawsuits seek $1 million in damages for any plaintiffs who sign on to each class action, meaning the potential damages run into the trillions nationwide. But what the groups really want are changes in the laws to provide a “presumptive standard” that physical custody should be split 50-50 unless one parent can prove that there’s a good reason for a different arrangement.
Legal custody, which gives both parents a say in issues such as religion, health and education, can be shared equally even when physical custody is not.
But many of the experts say legislating a 50-50 standard is a bad idea. What do you think?