Traditionally, divorce courts in Utah and elsewhere awarded sole custody of any minor children to the mother. Fathers were relegated to being "weekend dads" to their children. Fortunately, that bias appears to be waning, as more courts favor joint child custody agreements now than at any other time in our nation's history.
One study indicates that the percentage of mothers receiving sole custody of their children decreased over the last couple of decades, while the number of joint custody awards increased. The number of fathers solely raising their children decreased slightly as well. The study found a distinction between the rise in equal parenting time and unequal -- but joint -- parenting time. The percentage of parents sharing equal joint custody rose faster than those parents with unequal joint custody.
This study took place in Wisconsin, but its conclusions could be part of a nationwide trend. It seems that more parents are willing to set aside their differences in order to continue to be loving and supportive parents to their children. Even though these couples are no longer together, they realize that they will always be parents.
As such, couples around the country and here in Utah do what they can to forge post-divorce relationships that allow them to put their children first. The days when both parents could never be in the same room, even for an important event in the lives of their children, are largely in the past for many of these families. Of course, exceptions to every rule exist, but thankfully, joint child custody is becoming more the rule than the exception.
Source: hngn.com, "Joint Custody Of Children Is Becoming A Norm In US", May 22, 2014