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Friday, April 20, 2018



Testimony of Attorney Shirley Pripstein, Greater Hartford Legal Aid

The Legal Service family law attorneys in Connecticut oppose legislation that would create a presumption that shared parenting is in the best interest of minor children for the following reasons:

-There is no empirical evidence that shared parenting is, in fact, in the best interest of minor children.

-A shared parenting presumption is a cookie-cutter approach that puts the emphasis on the rights of the parents rather than on the best interest of children.

-A shared parenting arrangement may be in the best interest of children whose parents are committed to living in the same school district and making shared parenting work, but it is clearly not in the best interest of the majority of children whose custody is determined by the courts. These are children whose parents may never have cohabited or developed the communication and compromise skills necessary to making a shared parenting arrangement a comforting situation for the child.

-Shared parenting is particularly inappropriate when the parents live in different towns, making choice of school districts and sports teams an issue.

-Shared parenting is particularly inappropriate when there is a history of domestic violence between the parents, which is concrete evidence that at least one of the parents lacks communication and compromise skills necessary for co-parenting.

Connecticut has a well-thought out child custody statute, enacted ... in 2005, which sets forth sixteen factors for the court to consider when making orders of child custody and apportioning time between parents.

The factors appropriately recognize and attempt to balance the need of a child for stability against the need of a child for contact with both parents, and recognize that there are other factors that the court should consider in deciding what orders to make regarding child custody when the parents are unable to agree.  

A shared parenting presumption is a thinly disguised and ill-advised attempt to elevate the parental time considerations above the other factors set forth in our statutes, and should be rejected by this task force.


  1. So, attorneys have a degree in child psychology? How about parenting? How about the 60 peer reviewed scientifically based studies that do show children are far better with both parents equally? The Sole custody to one parent (mother in most cases) and every other weekend-4 days a month with the other parent ( father) is a cookie cutter aproach. Would you say these exact things if custody of children automatically went to the father instead of mothers? I doubt it. These opposition points are getting rather boring state after state, same song and dance. They have been rebutted successfully over and over. Got anything real? Not fake news regurgitated ad nauseum. Need for stability??? Children had two parents before the divorce, how is removing one of them from their lives just because the parents separate providing stability. It creates the exact opposite. Childrens biggest fear when parents divorce or seperate is that they will lose a parent. That trauma is exactly what the courts are doing and you are advocating for. Shameful!

    1. As you know, shared parenting is simply the preamble to sole custody for the father which I don't see folks objecting to. How dare mothers have privilege, but privilege for men is assumed to be beneficial. Parenting is a job that the majority of women have undertaken for the better part, while making sacrifices in other areas of their lives, and yet somehow father's think they can take over that job even though they've spent the majority of their time uninvolved. Now there are always exceptions to that where father was the primary caregiver, or where the parents had a joint business and worked together and spent equal time with the children. Those situations would definitely be handled differently. However, the arrogance of the male dominated judicial system and the federal funded father's rights movement is absolutely appalling in my view.