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Proposed legislation to protect children from sex offender parents

Michigan couples understand the complexities and emotions involved in a divorce or a separation, especially when children are involved. Child custody issues not only involve the interests of both parents, but those of the child. Continuing a relationship with a child after the parents split can be challenging, especially when the interests of each parent differ. Understanding what is the best interest of the child is the most crucial thing to consider in any child custody dispute. The protection of the child should be the priority when determining sole and joint custody of a child.

New state legislation has recently gone before the Senate in the state of Michigan. If enacted, the Michigan Children's Protection Act will change the way that child custody disputes are handled. The act was introduced to amend the Child Custody Act of 1970 because the current law, although creating certain protections for children, still allows parents convicted of the most egregious child sex offenses to be granted custody of their children.

A resident of Michigan has been fighting for the past four years to keep her ex-husband from gaining custody of or visitation with their young daughter. Her ex-husband is on the state's sex offender's registry. If the bill is passed, parents convicted of sex crimes would be prevented from gaining custody of their child and may lose their privileges to visit them as well. The important thing to consider when applying this law to current and future disputes is the best interest of the child, and whether limited access or zero access with a parent is best for them.

The sensitivity of this proposed legislation could cause more complex disputes of child custody and could change the dynamics of child custody and visitation proceedings in the state.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Allen Park mom: Legislation needed to protect kids from parents who are sex offenders," Melanie Scott Dorsey, Nov. 15, 2012

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