In Florida, the concept of shared parenting, sometimes referred to as joint physical custody, is not implied in the laws of the state, but this is something that lawmakers are trying to change. A couple of bills have passed by substantial margins, but they have been vetoed.
Supporters of shared parenting often cite studies and statistics that underscore the emotional and nurturing benefits of such an arrangement for children of divorced parents. A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health involved 150,000 individuals, and the results showed that children who benefit from shared parenting arrangements tend to enjoy substantially lower stress levels.
A panel of 32 legal scholars assembled by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts agree that it is in the best interest of children to not be subject to legal templates that determine visitation and time sharing schedules. In another report, more than 100 child development professionals stated that shared parenting should be the default arrangement, and they believe that this applies to children of any age, even those who are very young. In addition to Florida, several state legislatures have considered codifying this type of an arrangement, and some states have enacted it into law. Many countries around the world have similar statutes as well.
Although census data reveals that divorce courts still award mothers primary physical custody the great majority of the time, this will start to change as laws are enacted and perceptions change. In the interim, fathers who are interested in this type of an arrangement may want to discuss their goals with their family law attorneys.