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A new bill in Lansing could help give parents the chance to share custody of their children if they have been determined to be fit parents.

It is especially geared to help children get through a process that can be an emotional roller coaster.

"I wouldn't wish that on my own worst enemy. It's the hardest thing in the world to wake up everyday without your kids," said Derek Jaeger, with the National Parents Organization.

He supports the newly proposed bill that would give parents in custody cases equal time with their children. It's called the Michigan Shared Custody Act.

"It calls for a presumption of equal shared parenting be the starting point," said Linda Wright, with National Parents Organization.

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A “Townhall Hearing” next month in Howell will seek public input for proposed legislation in which Michigan parents could see more joint custody and substantially equal parenting time. 

The event will be held Thursday, November 2nd from 6-8pm at the Howell Opera House. It’s being sponsored by the National Parents Organization which supports legislation by White Lake Republican State Representative Jim Runestad, who will be the guest speaker at the gathering. He says that with some exceptions, such as a history of domestic violence, the bill would require the court to begin with the presumption that shared parenting is in the best interest of the child. His bill would also prohibit a parent from moving more than 80 miles away from the other parent and giving substantial weight to the child’s custody preference if they’re 16 or older. 

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Children in shared custody arrangements “do considerably better on every measure, from school success, to fewer teen pregnancies and drug use, to having optimism for the future,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, a public health practitioner and founder of the National Parents Organization (natioalparentsorganization.org), which aims to reform family court practices.

Holstein noted that in the past year, Missouri and Kentucky have passed “excellent shared parenting legislation,” following states including Utah, Arizona and Alaska.

“If you want to hasten the process of healing, or at least tolerance, the worst thing you can do is declare one person a winner and one person a loser,” he said.

“You’re both winners. You’re both going to be parents. That will actually diminish conflict.”

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Don Hubin of the Ohio chapter of the National Parents Organization, which advocates for shared parenting, said the bill gets some things right and some things wrong.

Hubin praised the bill for changing how child support is calculated. ” When you institute an impossible order, you encourage non- compliance and the child ends up getting nothing,” he said.


But Hubin said Ohio and SB125 fail to treat both parents equally and give a proper accounting for duplicated expenses incurred by both, such as having beds in two households for when kids spend time with each parent. The bill doesn’t give the nonprimary custody parent a break for shared parenting until a child spends 90 or more nights in that parent’s household, he said. These elements make it more difficult for separated or divorced couples to do shared parenting, Hubin said.

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Don Hubin of the Ohio chapter of the National Parents Organization, which advocates for shared parenting, said the bill gets some things right and some things wrong.

Hubin praised the bill for changing how child support is calculated. "When you institute an impossible order, you encourage non-compliance and . and the child ends up getting nothing," he said.

But Hubin said Ohio and SB125 fail to treat both parents equally and give a proper accounting for duplicated expenses incurred by both, such as having beds in two households for when kids spend time with each parent. The bill doesn't give the non-primary custody parent a break for shared parenting until a child spends 90 or more nights in that parent's household, he said. These elements make it more difficult for separated or divorced couples to do shared parenting, Hubin said.

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Don Hubin of the Ohio chapter of the National Parents Organization, which advocates for shared parenting, said the bill gets some things right and some things wrong.

Hubin praised the bill for changing how child support is calculated. "When you institute an impossible order, you encourage non-compliance and . and the child ends up getting nothing," he said.

But Hubin said Ohio and SB125 fail to treat both parents equally and give a proper accounting for duplicated expenses incurred by both, such as having beds in two households for when kids spend time with each parent. The bill doesn't give the non-primary custody parent a break for shared parenting until a child spends 90 or more nights in that parent's household, he said. These elements make it more difficult for separated or divorced couples to do shared parenting, Hubin said.

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About 20 Michiganders who believe that shared parenting should be the starting point in divorce cases with children lobbied lawmakers today with new polling data. 

Based on what they got back from the Marketing Resource Group, 84 percent of Michigan voters support children receiving equal time with both parents after a divorce.

Advocates made about 25 stops to member offices today as the House considers legislation that would require a child's time be split equally. 

"They have heard from the judges. They've heard from family law attorneys. Now they are hearing from the citizens of Michigan," said Keith LEDBETTER, the spokesperson for the National Parents Organization of Michigan. 

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WILX/NBC-TV interviews Linda Wright of National Parents Organization of Michigan on women's legislative shared parenting day.

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Forty-three states received a “C” or below rating from the National Parents Organization's Shared Parenting Report Card for legal parental equity. In state after state, there are tens of thousands of fathers who are marginalized or completely eliminated from their children’s lives under hostile legal codes and crushing financial burdens. 

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