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For decades, it was a woman’s job to raise kids and a man’s job to pay for them. Our family courts are still forcing those gender roles on people, even when they divorce or separate.

We still see courts making mothers the primary custodians over 80 percent of the time. It’s still a woman’s job to raise the kids, married or not. The same courts send fathers the bills. It’s still the man’s job to pay.

Things are quickly changing. A light of hope arose this week in a surprising place. On April 26, Gov. Matt Bevin signed a new child custody law (House Bill 528) that was initiated by the National Parents Organization. The bill passed both chambers of the state legislature overwhelmingly. Republicans and Democrats spoke with one voice, stating that children deserve the best chance in life, and that means equal access to both parents.

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Kentucky is the first state in the country to create a “legal presumption” for joint custody in divorce proceedings.

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The state of Kansas’ new Child Support Evaders program functions as a “most wanted″ of those who are behind on their child support payments: the names and faces of parents deemed the worst offenders have their faces and names posted online, complete with the amount they owe, their last known location and contact information.

This is a solution for families, says Gov. Jeff Colyer. But look closer, and the opposite is true — this program hurts, not helps, Kansas families.

This is detrimental to children and parents for many reasons. 

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Those testifying repeatedly called this a “pro-family bill” that didn’t just help fathers or mothers but also the children.

“Research overwhelmingly supports this principle,” said Linda Reutzel. “Equal shared parenting is in the best thing for children…Common sense and research show that the worst thing you can do to a child experiencing the divorce of their parents is to take one of them away.”  

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