N O W
Washington State chapter
National Organization for Women
Position Paper
Joint Custody


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Joint Custody

Washington State NOW opposes mandatory joint custody and any other efforts to weaken our state's child support collection system.

The idea of presumptive joint custody was developed in the 1970'ís and 1980í's. At that time it was believed that joint custody was generally in the child'ís best interest and that it would reduce a chil'dís trauma over the divorce by requiring predictable and balanced contact by both parents with the child. In actual practice, however, presumptive joint custody has fallen far short of its idealized goal. Instead, it causes numerous problems:

Presumptive joint custody fails to take into consideration the unique circumstances of each family. Courts under presumptive joint custody have very limited discretion even in circumstances of violence or where the court believes joint custody is not in the best interest of the child.

Under current law regarding parenting plans, judges can award joint custody if deemed appropriate in any specific case. This legislation presumes that a joint custody is appropriate in all cases and that parents going through a divorce, often a hotly contested one, can work well together and have frequent contact and communicate and can make mutual decisions concerning their child. This is often not the case, especially in high conflict cases.


per Washington State NOW Activist - January 1998

Call 360-253-7147 for a contact person in your local community.


Back to the WA NOW Home Page
Joint Custody Position Paper ("pp.joint.custody.html")
Maintained by William Affleck-Asch
Seattle NOW member (who happens to have joint shared custody, but it's not for everyone)
Last updated: March 14, 1998