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Modern child custody is not one-size-fits-all

Keeping the best interests of the child at the forefront is the hope of many divorcing parents. Families and the courts no longer tend to default to automatically granting full child custody to the mother and offering visitation to the father. Now, more Iowa families are analyzing their unique situations to determine what options work best for the whole family, while trying to minimize disruption to the child's life. 

One recent custody option that has appeared is the bird's nest model. The bird's nest in this instance is the central home that the child remains in. The parents move in and out of the nest, sometimes week to week, allowing the child to stay in his or her  own home without the stress of going back and forth. This arrangement works for some co-parenting couples quite nicely. 

Even when the child does move back and forth between homes, studies show that usually the child is happier when he or she is able to maintain a strong relationship with both parents. Usually, there are less behavioral and psychological issues for the child. This is in contrast to older beliefs that the mother should do most of the parenting, and that stability of location should be preserved over all for the child's best interest. 

Families in Iowa today have the freedom to customize a child custody arrangement that truly fits the unique needs of their family situation. If the parents cannot determine one that works on their own, they may decide outside help is required. A parent looking for more support with custody decisions may choose to reach out to an experienced family law attorney for guidance and representation. 

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Why modern custody agreements look so different: 'Anything goes, as long as the children are happy'", Danielle Braff, March 8, 2018

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