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Family law bill for required joint custody passes Michigan House

Those who are going through a divorce in the state may soon have new legislation to consider when it comes to decisions on child custody. A bill was recently passed by the Michigan House that would require any judge in a divorce hearing to grant custody to both parents. The only exception to this family law rule would be if there had been reports of domestic violence between the parents in the past. 

According to the report, this new bill is designed to address some of the many changes that have happened to parenthood in the past few decades. It was once assumed that the woman would always get custody of any children in a divorce and the man would pay child support. That is no longer the case, and this bill addresses that fact.

The bill was also drafted in order to take some of the discretion in child custody cases away from the judges. According to one man who sponsored the legislation, these cases were often decided by the judges' opinions instead of the benefit of the child. Just because a judge may feel that the kids should go to one certain parent does not mean that is what is actually best for the child.

In fact, statistics seem to show that children who are raised by both parents fare much better in life than those who lose a parent through divorce. This bill would give kids equal time with each parent, even after a divorce is final. Neither parent would have more visitation or responsibility than the other.

There is opposition to the bill from the State Bar of Michigan's family law section, as well as from family court employees, judges, and domestic violence victims' advocates. Anyone who is considering a divorce in which there will be a child custody battle may want to consult with a family law attorney. This lawyer can guide the client in how to keep up with new laws and legislation that would be pertinent to his or her case.

Source: freep.com, "Required joint custody bill passes Michigan House panel", Kathleen Gray, June 20, 2017

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