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IN THE MAIL: Shared parenting issue deserves another vote

PARK RIVER, N.D. -- The North Dakota Legislature held a meeting March 16 to hear issues relating to the child custody study. The study committee was given a directive by the Legislative Council to only study other states' custody practices. This ...

PARK RIVER, N.D. -- The North Dakota Legislature held a meeting March 16 to hear issues relating to the child custody study.

The study committee was given a directive by the Legislative Council to only study other states' custody practices. This is not the directive passed by the Legislature, which stated that the study was to cover custody, visitation and child support problems in North Dakota.

The North Dakota Bar Association testified. The association opposed the shared parenting measure in 2006, saying there are problems with the current system, but don't vote for this measure.

The association has not made any real suggested improvements in this study to lessen the conflict and adversarial system we now put our children through.

There was much testimony from parents and grandparents as to the misconduct and possible corruption by the courts and those who stand to profit by keeping the system the way it is.

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I testified to the legislative committee that the North Dakota district courts are not following U.S. Supreme Court rulings stating that in divorces no parent loses any custody unless they first are found unfit or a danger to the children.

Information also was given that social science research supports shared parenting and that the so-called "best interest standard" is really no standard at all.

A study also was presented stating that 70 percent of young adult children of divorces wanted equal time with the absent parent and that the remaining 30 percent wanted significantly more overnights with the father.

A motion at the end of the hearing suggested legislative changes in custody that would change nothing as we know it on how courts take away custody from one parent.

The residents of North Dakota need to help gather signatures once again to get the revised shared parenting measure on the ballot and passed. Shared parenting is the answer to seeing that our children's best interests are looked after.

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