(a) Parents have the responsibility to make decisions and perform other parental duties necessary for the care and growth of their minor children. In any proceeding between parents under this chapter, the best interests of the child shall be the standard by which the court determines and allocates the parties' parental responsibilities. The general assembly recognizes the detrimental effect of divorce on many children and that divorce, by its nature, means that neither parent will have the same access to the child as would have been possible had they been able to maintain an intact family. The general assembly finds the need for stability and consistency in children's lives. The general assembly also has an interest in educating parents concerning the impact of divorce on children. The general assembly recognizes the fundamental importance of the parent-child relationship to the welfare of the child, and the relationship between the child and each parent should be fostered unless inconsistent with the child's best interests. The best interests of the child are served by a parenting arrangement that best maintains a child's emotional growth, health and stability, and physical care.
(b) The general assembly finds that mothers and fathers in families are the backbone of this state and this nation. They teach children right from wrong, respect for others, and the value of working hard to make a good life for themselves and for their future families. Most children do best when they receive the emotional and financial support of both parents. The general assembly finds that a different approach to dispute resolution in child custody and visitation matters is useful.
Acts 1997, ch. 557, § 1; 1998, ch. 1098, §§ 71, 74; 2000, ch. 889, § 1.
Compiler's Notes. Acts 1997, ch. 557, § 3 further provided that this part shall apply to each action or petition for modification filed on or after July 1, 1997.