Last year, Ohio House Representatives Rodney Creech (Republican, District 43) and Thomas E. West (Democrat, District 49) co-sponsored House Bill 508, the Equal Parenting Act – Children Need Both Parents aimed at establishing a statewide rebuttable presumption of 50/50 shared parenting. In this blog, I share a series of video clips from a larger video produced by National Parents Organization to get the word out to communities, family courts, and families across Ohio.
Representative Creech has parents share their stories with him all the time and he began to notice similarities across many of them. Creech comments, “Parents shouldn’t have to spend $90K – $100K to get their own kids. It’s just good people that wanted to be good parents to their kids. But it was the court system, or the attorneys, or the ex-spouse that threw up roadblocks.” This only serves to set up losses on all sides of the equation, parents and children.
Representative West agrees saying “Nobody should have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to have a relationship with their child.” He also adds that he believes “The (family court) system does incentivize conflict and we need to change that.”
Exceptions to Equal Shared Parenting
Of course, shared parenting isn’t appropriate in every case, which is why the law is written to ensure that in cases where there are concerns of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect, the courts may deviate from the 50/50 parenting arrangement to something more fitting to the specific circumstances. It is primarily the starting point that changes with House Bill 508. Parents start off on even footing with equal shared parenting time. But those who wish to fight for more time need to justify it in court as opposed to shifting the burden of proof to the other parent by simply accusing them of wrongdoing. After all, these couples are in conflict to begin with.
The full video which is the same for both representatives outside of their personal remarks includes comments from National Parents Organization Executive Chair, Don Hubin. Mr. Hubin speaks to both U.S. and international research which concludes that children who have both parents equally engaged in their lives “do better on every measure of child well-being versus those raised in a sole custody situation.” Additionally, children who enjoy the benefit of 50/50 shared parenting with their divorced or separated parents do almost as well as their peers who remain in intact families.
Most compelling, however is the clip below of Kindra, a mother who supports equal shared parenting but, unfortunately did not get to enjoy such a presumption herself. As a result, she has suffered the loss of her relationship with her oldest son.
Finally, Representative Creech speaks to the real-world ramifications of the loss of time spent with a child for parents who are awarded only the standard parenting schedule. The schedule for a non-custodial parent in Ohio is every other weekend and one evening for a few hours during the week. This hardly offers the parent an opportunity to be reasonably engaged in the child’s education and extra-curricular endeavors.
To learn more about House Bill 508, please go to the Ohio House website. Also, to offer support or get involved, check out the full efforts of National Parents Organization on their website at SharedParenting.org.
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