This short piece goes right to the heart of the matter (SILive, 2/07/09). It asks the simple question, “Why give custody to one parent or the other? Why not both?” Sure, if one parent truly has had little or no contact with the child to whom he/she would seem more like a stranger post-divorce than like a parent, I can see sole custody as a reasonable option.
But if one parent has done 49% of the childcare (or 35% or 25%), it makes no sense to relegate that parent to “every other weekend” status. In that case the child knows the parent as mother or father.
That child should not be deprived of one parent’s love and caring simply because he/she has spent more time at the office supporting the family than at home doing childcare. If shared parenting were the norm instead of the exception, children would have the benefits of both parents. Also, if one of the parents died, became ill or disabled, left the country or went to prison, the other parent would be there to take up the slack. That would be a huge improvement over placing the child in foster care which so often happens now. It’s like the article says, children need both parents.