September 29, 2019 by Molly Olson
Equal-shared-parenting legislation continues to sweep the nation. This year, more than half of all states across the country considered long overdue legislation to equally protect a child’s time with each fit parent after divorce and separation.
In Minnesota, an equal-parenting bill was heard on the floor of the state House of Representatives. However, with a 67-67 tie vote, our 2019 Legislature failed to pass it.
For over 20 years, citizen advocates in Minnesota have been educating policymakers and asking state legislators to pass laws for a “rebuttable presumption” of equal-shared-parenting time. This non-partisan legal reform creates a starting place of equal parenting time for fit parents. It includes exceptions to protect the safety of children, considers practical limitations, and it’s never a mandate.
This year, the Minnesota bill had strong bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate. Sadly, heavy-handed, misleading scare tactics from the divorce-lawyer lobby and highly partisan late-night drama on the House floor resulted in four DFL legislators withdrawing support.
Legal reform is needed for good reason. Decades of credible research are clear: Children thrive with both parents equally in their lives. Restricting a child’s access to one fit parent below equal time poses great risk to children.
This month, the National Parents Organization published its newly updated Equal Shared Parenting Report Card. This report card provides an overview of how each state ranks on 21 different statutory measures. These measures, developed by NPO, impact the degree to which state laws support the equal involvement of both fit parents after divorce and separation. The last report card was completed in 2014. NPO has clarified that the true grade for Minnesota in 2014 was a D.
Read the rest here.