Promoting the relationships between noncustodial parents and their children has become a federal policy priority. Recent policy proposals aim to achieve this by integrating adjudications of custody and parenting time within proceedings to establish child support. These proposals share several laudable goals, including encouraging the involvement of fathers in their children’s lives, increasing compliance with child support orders, and facilitating unmarried parents’ access to court processes for resolving custody and visitation disputes. But the simplistic solutions employed by the proposals, some of which would mandate that custody and visitation be adjudicated in all child support proceedings, pose serious risks to the low income families they aim to serve — risks that might do more harm to such families than good. This article evaluates the merits and drawbacks of federal parenting time proposals and proposes an alternative, multi-layered approach to facilitating shared parenting among non-marital families.
Stacy Brustin & Lisa Vollendorf Martin, Paved with Good Intentions: Unintended Consequences of Federal Proposals to Integrate Child Support and Parenting Time, 48 IND. L. REV. 803 (2015).