Joint Custody Bill Debate Hits Grand Rapids

Child custody matters are incredibly sensitive during a divorce. As divorce attorneys, we know there can enormous benefits to parents reaching agreement through Collaborative Divorce, but sometimes litigation is necessary. A judge’s custody determining is often challenged later on as life situations change and parents’ views on their children’s best interests vary.

Proposed Michigan legislation, however, would change the system and create a presumptive 50/50 child custody split. House Bill 4691, the Michigan Shared Parenting Act, passed a House Panel earlier this summer and lawmakers are now trying to send it to the house floor. Recently, a town hall was held in Grand Rapids to invite community discussion on the bill.

Putting Kids First

Earlier in August, a group of supporters passed out flyers in Grand Rapids, encouraging people to attend an event called Putting Kids First. The event was scheduled for August 21st and was a town hall hearing with State Representative Jim Runestad (R-44th District). With state congress back in session, Runestad is hoping to have the bill voted on by the house early this fall.

Two Sides

The town hall, as was expected, generated both support and opposition. Supporters want to  steer custody decisions away from the courts, citing the current standards as flawed and out-dated. Opponents believe that the bill will pit parents against one another and that the courts should continue to look at the best interests of the child, not the “rights” of parents. We recently covered both sides of the bill here.

Who to Contact

When political matters are at issue, we believe it is our civic duty as divorce attorneys to offer facts about the proposed legislation. If you feel passionately about this bill one way or another, we  recommend reaching out to your state representative. To find your representative, use this page to determine your district, then search here to find contact information for your representative.

We will continue to keep you up to date on the status of this bill. Whether you are considering, in the middle of, or already completed a divorce, we are always available to discuss how this bill may apply to your case. If you would like to chat, contact us online to schedule a consult today!