JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The General Assembly sent HB 1550 to Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk this week, opening access for both parents of children in divorce cases.
The shared custody law creates guidelines for parenting plans, requires courts to disclose why shared parenting wasn’t awarded if another arrangement is ordered, requires courts to provide written findings and conclusions in a custody case, specifies that courts can’t “presume that a parent, solely because of his or her sex, is more qualified than the other parent and prohibits local courts from establishing their own rules, such as having a default parenting plan.
“Thank you, Missouri legislators, for voting to bring state child custody laws in line with the overwhelming body of research showing that most children desperately want and need shared parenting after divorce or separation,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, founder and chair of National Parents Organization. “Too many families have suffered from the family courts’ outdated preference for giving sole custody to one parent. I urge Gov. Nixon to act on his historic opportunity to sign HB 1550 into law. Instead of setting up parents for a bitter and unnecessary custody battle, HB 1550 will allow families to heal from the pain of divorce and separation from a position of equality and co-parenting.”
Shared parenting is a flexible arrangement where children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after divorce or separation, according to the National Parents Organization.
HB 1550 was sponsored by Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron, and approved by the House 152-4.