The informational meeting was held by the National Parents Organization Thursday at the Howell Opera House. Approximately 70 people attended to learn more and offer input on House Bill 4691, which is sponsored by White Lake Republican State Representative Jim Runestad. The bill would require judges to award joint legal custody of children to divorcing parents, with exceptions such as a parent’s history of domestic violence. It would also prohibit a parent from moving more than 80 miles away from the other parent and gives substantial weight to a child’s custody preference if they’re 16 or older.
Senate Bill 125 would ensure that low-income child support obligors are not driven into abject poverty by the child-support obligations imposed on them — a result that winds up hurting those that the laws are supposed to benefit.
“What Senate Bill 125 does right is to finally provide an appropriate self-support reserve,” said Hubin.
But he says how it changes some of the calculations will do more harm than good.
“When parents are living separately we want the norm to be both parents have a home for the children; the children don’t have one home where they live and another where they visit; they have two homes where they live,” said Hubin. “Ohio law is very far behind the curve on encouraging this and this child support bill doesn’t help.”
The National Parents Organization wants to see less of a cliff when determining payments based on the number of days children spend with each parent.
“Deciding whether the children move from one house to the other one hour earlier on Friday can make thousands of dollars of difference; that’s just a recipe for needless litigation,” said Hubin.
The meeting was hosted by Americans For Equal Shared Parenting, a group committed to reforming the way judges award child custody after parents divorce.
State Reps. Kathy Swan of Cape Girardeau and Rick Francis of Perryville also attended the meeting. The legislators said there are plans to prefile at least one bill in December designed to put mothers and fathers on equal footing instead of granting mothers a prefunctory advantage. The bill -- which will be a revised version of one previously submitted -- would seek to impose "rebuttable presumption of equally shared parenting," requiring judges to begin with the presumption both parents are "fit and willing," explained Linda Reutzel, the state chairwoman for the National Parents Organization.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.