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Bill mandating shared parenting awaits action by Missouri's Nixon

20637011_S.jpgThe Missouri legislature passed a bill that would make shared parenting the default presumption in all Missouri divorce cases involving children. The bill is now on Governor Nixon's desk. He has 45 days from when it was passed to either sign it or veto it.

If he signs the bill and it becomes law, child custody determinations would proceed from the assumption that parents should receive approximately even amounts of time with their children. This is generally a good idea, as it allows children the maximum amount of time with each parent possible.

Of course, the devil is always in the details, and it will be interesting to see if there is much change in custody allocations should the bill become law. For instance, under this law, an ideal allocation of parenting time could involve the child spending alternating weeks at each parent's residence or something more complex, such as a 2-2-3 rotation.

These plans allow for much more involvement of each parent, but for some, they may be more difficult to implement as both parents must be close by the children's school and be able to get them ready for school every day when the children are present, be able to pick them up after school and  get them to extracurricular activities as needed.

Parents with such a plan need to be organized and have jobs that don't require that they work early mornings or stay late frequently. They also need a stable work schedule, so that they know they will be available. If you travel sporadically for work, on short notice, such a parenting plan could be difficult to manage.

If you and your child's other parent can manage such a plan, the good news is that you don't need a new law; you can create such a plan today. Your attorney can explain how to assemble such a plan and help you negotiate out the details.


Source: krcu.org, "Missouri Joint Custody Bill Would Equalize Rights Between Parents," Marissanne Lewis-Thompson, May 18, 2016

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