Posted by: Mar 12, 2014By MJSJSDC

Can Physics Help with Child Custody?

solving child support

Can physics help with child custody?

Last month, the European Physical Journal (EPJ) published an article entitled “The Physics of Custody.”  That’s right — a peer-reviewed physics journal turned its attention to the common social dilemma of child custody arrangements.  Three Chilean physicists wanted to know:  When divorced parents enter into a new relationship with a partner who also has kids from a previous marriage, can we use physics to solve the practical problem of how to devise a custody schedule where the new couple can have all of their children on alternating weekends (and no children on the other weekends)?  What about when a divorced parent has children from several past relationships and enters into a new relationship with someone who also has children from several past relationships?  The legal system struggles to please everyone; can physics help?  

The authors use a spin glass model to try to solve these dilemmas.  Did it work?  Sort of.  While physics cannot be used to solve all couples’ custody quandaries, it can help maximize the number of couples who can have all of their respective children under one roof at one time.  However, even the lead researcher acknowledges that physics isn’t making his own child custody schedule any easier to plan.  He was quoted by Scientific American saying, “The study is much more funny than practical,” and they report that even he acknowledges that it’s easier “to sit down with his exes and a calendar than to use his mathematical formula to plan his custodial arrangement.”  However, he has promised to keep studying the issue.

Until physics has the answer for your child custody dilemma, we are here to help you.  We understand that it is difficult to please everyone in the wake of a divorce, especially when you move on to new relationships with significant others who also have children.  Harrisburg child custody attorneys Jessica Smith and Alexis Miloszewski are experienced with helping their clients come up with creative solutions to that suit the best interests of the children involved.  If you would like to make changes to your child custody arrangement, give us a call at 717.520.4400 or send an email to