Many couples end up in a bitter fight over custody because they both believe it is best if they get the lion’s share. They dredge up past episodes where their spouse sent the child to school with only a bag of chips for lunch or screenshot social media posts of the other parent on a drunken night out. All of these things can be done in an attempt to persuade the judge that they are a better parent and should get more custody.
Divorce judges have little interest in such things. They would much rather see two parents who can work together to raise their children unless one parent presents a real danger to the child.
The ideal situation is that you and your co-parent work out your parenting plan together and then ask a judge to approve it. That is better than having the judge do it for you as they do not know you or your children.
Why do courts prefer shared parenting?
Your child benefits
No child wants one parent to disappear from their life, except perhaps if that parent was abusive. Maintaining regular contact with both parents is typically best. Each parent brings something different to the table. Breaking off a parental relationship could do long-term psychological harm.
However great a parent you are, sometimes it is nice to have a second opinion or someone else to take the kids, so you get a break. You can, of course, pay childminders, babysitters, tutors and psychologists, but why turn down the help of someone who could fulfill some of those needs for free?
If you are separating, you might find talking to each other difficult. Getting legal help to create a parenting plan can ease the process.