Dad-friendly ‘child custody’ law comes into force law in Missouri
September 5, 2016 3 comments
A law designed to make child residence rulings more gender-neutral has come into force in the Midwestern state of Missouri.
House Bill 1550, known as the ‘Shared Parenting Bill’, will bar family courts across the state from awarding care on the basis of gender, financial status or age. It will also prevent them from applying off-the-peg parenting plans when ruling on the time the children of divorced families should spend with each parent. Instead the office of Missouri Supreme Court will publish guidelines setting the required approach to such cases.
Judges will be encouraged to set aside traditional gender stereotypes and default to rulings in which the children spend roughly equal time with each divorced parent. Typically women are awarded primary care after divorce and fathers only receive occasional visitation or contact rights regardless of each family’s circumstances.
Under the new legislation, Missouri courts will be required to explain why shared custody was not applied in a particular case.
The bill was championed in the state legislature by Republican Representative Kathy Swan, who also helped to draft the wording. It was inspired by similar legislation in neighbouring Arkansas and Minnesota.
“We know spending time with both parents is invaluable to a child’s growth and security. This law is about the child.”
Photo of the Gateway Arch in Missouri capital St Louis by Bev Sykes via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence
September 5, 2016
Categories: Children and divorce