Proposed bill would impose presumption granting parents temporary joint custody

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Opponents and supporters of a proposed bill on shared parenting voiced their opinions at the Statehouse on Thursday.

Senate Bill 157 would impose a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for fit, willing and able parents to have temporary joint custody and share equally in parenting time.

Supporters say children see far more success and suffer from less negative consequences by spending time with both parents.

Opponents claim the presumption could create more custody hearings or create a race to the courthouse effect for parents who may be emotional during a divorce.

“Any kind of presumption putting a cookie cutter solution on an individual or unique family simply doesn't work, it creates more problems." Opponent and Longtime Family Lawyer Ron Nelson said.

Supporter Ron Holm and President of Kansas Family Preservation Coalition says his children experienced what happens when courts are currently practicing guidelines that have every other weekend standards.

“Discussion today was about the need for individualized plans and fitting families with unique needs, but it’s not our experience that’s what's happening in courtrooms, " Holm said.

In a recent survey of Kansans done by Researchscape International 89 percent of respondents said they "feel that fit and willing mothers and fathers should share in the responsibility of raising and providing for children whether they are married, divorced, or not."

No further action has been announced on the bill as of yet.