Walsh County resident fights AG’s move to overturn 'equal parenting' initiativeFathers’ rights advocate Mitch Sanderson is asking Walsh County District Court to deny a motion by the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office to overturn a Walsh County “equal parenting” initiative.
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
Fathers’ rights advocate Mitch Sanderson is asking Walsh County District Court to deny a motion by the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office to overturn a Walsh County “equal parenting” initiative.
In his response to the state’s motion to strike down the law, Sanderson claims the state lacks the authority to intervene in the case.
Walsh County, which has a home rule charter, is the only county in the state with such an initiative, which was approved by county voters in November.
Sanderson argues that under the new law, both parents in a divorce have equal parenting and custody rights, provided neither is ruled an unfit parent. He claims that because of the home-rule charter, the county’s shared-parenting initiative is not in violation of any state law.
Therefore, he said, the ordinance “should be enforced by Walsh County Court.”
Earlier this month, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem filed a brief opposing the shared-parenting ordinance as a motion in Sanderson’s divorce case in Walsh County in which Sanderson was the defendant and his ex-wife, Cheryl Harlow, also of Park River, was the plaintiff.
In his brief, Stenehjem argues the county ordinance usurps state authority in divorce and custody cases. He argues alternatively that state law on home-rule charters for cities and counties does not grant a local government the power to regulate matters already regulated by the state.
No hearing date has been set in the case.