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Changing child custody laws may impact families

Oklahomans concerned about potentially complex child custody disputes may soon find relief in some new ideas about parenting. Experts say that custody laws are changing across the nation, and states like South Dakota, Utah, Minnesota and Missouri have already created new statutes that support the practice of shared parenting. These laws reportedly take a more even-handed approach to determining who should be awarded custody and how visitation rights are structured.

Although only a few jurisdictions have actually implemented new rules, news sources claim that some 20 states have had pending reforms in the works since 2015. In places like Arizona, courts focus on promoting parenting time and equal distribution of responsibilities.

State governments that observe successes with new laws in neighboring regions may be prone to follow suit by enacting similar rules on their own turf. A number of research efforts have also produced results that claim shared-parenting custody models have positive impacts on the welfare of children. During custody disputes, these laws could make it easier for fathers to argue their cases without fearing that judges will deny their custody requests simply because of their gender or the ages of their children.

Parents who think they'll have to deal with child custody battles may find that evolving laws provide them with new advantages, but such regulations don't change overnight. Political pushback and conflicting opinions on family matters could make it difficult to leave the fate of a family up to legislators. It's important to have a solid understanding of existing laws and the procedures one needs to follow to make a case before a judge. Parents might find it helpful to consult with an attorney who can help them formulate sound plans prior to seeking formal resolution.

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