Automatic 50/50 custody in Michigan

Automatic 50/50 custody in Michigan

In 2017, FOX17 News reported on the heated debates sparked by House Bill 4691. Also known as the Shared Parenting Bill, if passed into law, it would make 50/50 joint custody automatic between parents in Michigan. Many people believe a bill like this may put an end to exes competing for sole or primary custody. Instead, children would spend an equal amount of time with both parents. 

Shared custody may also tackle issues related to parental alienation. This may describe the situation where one parent tries to turn the child against the other parent using several tactics. Sometimes these situations are so extreme that children get brainwashed into thinking the other parent was abusive, forgetting the happy times they may have enjoyed with mom or dad. 

However, what happens when the accusations are not based on lies? There are instances when the other parent really is abusive. Automatic 50/50 custody could put women, especially, at a disadvantage when trying to escape their abusers and take the children with them. 

Advocates of the bill claimed that domestic violence abusers would be exempt from this, but they may put the burden of proof on the victims. Note that many children and spouses do not report domestic abuse out of fear, embarrassment or distrust of the system. 

In late 2018, ABC13 News covered the top five bills that had fallen flat and failed to gain enough traction to move on to the next stage. Among them was the Shared Parenting Bill. Here, the news agency offered some additional details on the proposal. One included mandating that parents continue to live within 80 miles of each other. It is not clear whether or not the bill will get resurrected, but so far, very little else has surfaced about it. 

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