Thinking Outside the Custody Box

Moving Beyond Custody Law to Achieve Shared Parenting and Shared Custody

This Article situates itself in the center of the debate regarding child custody laws. This Article considers whether child custody law can achieve the optimal outcome for most children: an arrangement in which their parents agree to share custody and coparent supportively. This Article argues that custody law has not and cannot obtain this optimal result for most children. This Article argues that the law governing the parents’ relationship to each other should be structured in a way that encourages supportive coparenting beginning at the child’s birth. Such an arrangement should work to strengthen the parents’ coparenting relationship, thereby leading to more agreements to share custody and coparent supportively at the termination of the parents’ romantic relationship. This Article suggests that the best approach would be to engage in law reform efforts that would promote family functioning through laws other than those that govern custody disputes.

The full text of this Symposium is available to download as a PDF.