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There continues to be a growing trend toward shared parenting time arrangements throughout the United States and New Jersey is no different. The theory behind shared parenting is that the children benefit from the ongoing, consistent contact with both parents. Sounds good. However, depending on the age of the children, this is very hard to implement and very hard to manage. Even in traditional homes where two parents live together with their children, keeping the house rules clear and what the household expectations are is very hard. Imagine this in two different homes, where the parents are often at complete odds with each other. Who sets the rules? What if the rules are not followed? How confusing is it for the child?
Aside from the rules, let's talk logistics. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I do not see how shuttling a child back and forth from one home to the next every other day or every other week makes sense. Children need consistency. They need guidance, they need to know what is expected of them every day and for the rules to be clear. In two homes, with potentially four "parents", what is a child to do? While I am not advocating only weekend and holiday time, I am advocating that a child should know where their home really is. Where their room really is, which should be in one house. They need to know, which parent makes the key everyday decisions, manages their schooling, their activities without constant fighting and friction.
While my view maybe "conservative", it is certainly practical and straightforward. Before you seek or agree to shared parenting time, take a step back and really think how your child will handle it. Think how your life may have been if you were forced into a shared parenting situation. In some cases it may have been great but it is my belief as a father and a family law attorney that the majority of situations benefit from a more traditional and simple parenting schedule.
I hope that your wife up and leaves you and takes your children away and that you only get to "visit" with them every other weekend and on holidays.
Raising children is a challenge, and easily the single most important thing that most people ever do in their lives. Yes, co-parenting requires effort, but the data is overwhelming in support of the fact that it's crucial and in the great majority of cases should be done. Shared parenting is what should occur within a marriage, and it should remain if that marriage fails, because it's what the children deserve.