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27 Child & Fam. L.Q. 3 (2015)


Policy makers in the US currently debate whether to keep discretionary child custody standards, that is, “best interests of the child” clarified by some factors, or to move to a more rule-based system, such as a presumptive shared parenting regime. This article briefly sets out the problem, theoretical and evidence-based ways of approaching it, and some new results from a study of court documents from one US state indicating that a strong presumption of shared custody is associated with an increase in post-decree domestic violence. While presumptions or de facto rules should facilitate bargaining, these results may tip the balance towards the standards plus factors approach.

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