The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Friday considered the language of a proposed petition from a group called Dads and Moms of Michigan.
The petition would require judges to award fifty-fifty custody of children to parents in custody disputes. This unless clear evidence shows one parent to be unfit, unwilling, or unable to care for a child.
Renee Bleeker, president of the NOW-Michigan chapter, says requiring joint custody might ignore the best interests of children.
“In real life we don’t operate fifty-fifty. In divorce it’s certainly not going to work, especially if people aren’t agreeing or there’s abuse issues. When you get fifty-fifty then you no longer have any child support burden. We think that if you took the child support issue out completely, you wouldn’t be having people trying to get fifty-fifty custody.”
Bleeker also says a joint-custody mandate is unnecessary because over eighty-five percent of custody disputes are worked out before getting to court.
“A good two-thirds of those remaining fifteen percent involve domestic violence in some way, shape or form. So, then you are mandating victims to share custody and then have to carry the burden of going to court for safety.”
The group Dads and Moms of Michigan says the measure may help children maintain relationships with divorced parents.
The Board of State Canvassers considered whether or not to certify the language of the proposed petition before its circulation. Five hundred thousand signatures are required before the petition can be on a state-wide ballot.