A bill has been passed by the Missouri legislature and is awaiting action by the governor that would require that family court judges in the state begin child custody actions with the presumption that if the parents cannot agree, a shared parenting plan with equal time between parents will be the default plan.
The bill is strongly supported by father’s rights organizations, who feel that courts often treat fathers as a visitor to their children and not as a parent. One man is profiled in a news story as receiving every other weekend with his son complains that he “is not a weekend dad.”
This bill, if it becomes law, would still allow judges discretion when dealing with child custody disputes, but would require that parents be entitled to equal time with their children and that judges could not express feelings of gender bias, such as claiming that children should be with their mothers most of the time.
Some are worried that fathers will attempt to use the bill, if it becomes law, as a means of reducing their child support. Proponents suggest it will reduce contentious and harmful litigation between parents and prevent bitter custody disputes from developing.
For any parent, one important element to remember is the creation of a workable parent plan. If you obtain 50/50 shared parenting, there will be much complexity in putting that plan into practice. You should carefully work through all of the details with your attorney to ensure that once that plan is effective, that you can successfully implement it for your children.
Source: fultonsun.com, “Advocating for 50/50 parenting in custody cases,” Brittany Ruess, June 18, 2016