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Physicist, father uses scientific principal to arrange custody

During a divorce that involves children, one of the most important aspects of ending the marital relationship is finding a co-parenting one that will work. Multiple marriages and blended families are common today. While a specific arrangement will determine the custody of the children belonging to both spouses, they aren’t the only ones that the parents may want to consider.

In some cases, a parent will have a custody arrangement with children from a prior marriage and that prior spouse may have an arrangement with a different spouse. What if parents want to make one custody arrangement coincide with the other? Is that possible? It’s entirely possible, said one dad. As a physicist, this dad decided to use the tools of his trade to figure out an arrangement that works.

For this dad, children with two ex-wives and a current girlfriend with a child made an every-other weekend arrangement unsuitable to him. He wanted to make sure that he could maximize the weekends that he and his new girlfriend could have all of their children together. Of course, he wanted to ensure that there were a few weekends without any kids as well.

This dad applied the principals of something called spin-glass mathematics. Instead of finding the lowest-energy state, the algorithm was used to minimize conflicts or maximize the weekends that every parent in the mix could have all of their children at home on the same weekends. His and his research group’s algorithm was even published in the European Physical Journal B.

The chance that a Houston family court judge -- or parent for that matter -- will apply these principles of physics in a child custody determination is probably pretty slim, but that doesn’t mean that creative solutions aren’t out of the question. Depending on the circumstances, spouses can work to negotiate a custody arrangement that works best for them. An attorney can help draft a comprehensive agreement.

Source: Scientific American, “Physics Can Solve Child-Custody Arrangements,” Clara Moskowitz, March 7, 2014

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