Missouri Passes Equalizing Child-custody Law 202

“We know spending time with both parents is invaluable to a child’s growth and security,” Swan said. “This law is about the child.”

Governor signs Rep. Swan bill that equalizes child-custody criteria

By Mark Bliss ~ Southeast Missourian

A new Missouri law, signed Friday by Gov. Jay Nixon, seeks to create a more equalized approach to child custody and visitation as championed by state Rep. Kathy Swan.

Rep. Kathy Swan

Rep. Kathy Swan

The Cape Girardeau Republican lawmaker crafted the language that made it into the final bill.

“It was my amendment that was added onto a Senate bill,” she said.

This marked the second year in a row Swan had sought passage of such legislation. The Missouri Bar opposed the measure the first time. This time, it remained neutral, Swan said.

“I think it did make a tremendous difference,” she said of the bar association’s stance this time around.

Swan said earlier this year the goal was to make joint custody more of a default setting when a couple goes to court. Often, the father gets far less time with the children, she said during the legislative session.

Swan said most states don’t have the custody provision contained in Missouri’s new law, patterned after those in Arkansas and Minnesota.

The new law, which takes effect Aug. 28, stipulates no court shall adopt a standardized parenting plan or local rule.

“Some courts have had their own rules,” Swan said, adding in many cases they have favored the mothers in child custody.

Swan said the law mandates the office of the Missouri Supreme Court will set guidelines for all judges to follow in complying with the measure.

The law, she said, is designed to maximize the amount of time a child will have to spend with his or her parents.

“We know spending time with both parents is invaluable to a child’s growth and security,” Swan said. “This law is about the child.”

Divorced father and Jackson resident Mike Seabaugh welcomed the new law. Under the law, he said courts should begin any custody proceeding with the assumption parents should share the custody of their children, 50-50. From there, the court can decide whether a different arrangement is justified, Seabaugh said.

Seabaugh has full custody of his two daughters, 16 and 18, but it took him years of court fights to gain custody.

He said the new law is not just for fathers.

“It is not specifically a father’s rights bill,” he said.

But Seabaugh said in many cases, fathers have been on the losing end of custody cases.

Seabaugh said judges in some areas of the state, including Southeast Missouri, routinely often favored the mothers in such cases.

The new law states judges may not give custody preference to a parent because of gender, age or financial status.

Source: http://www.semissourian.com/story/2319344.html

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202 thoughts on “Missouri Passes Equalizing Child-custody Law

    • Kj

      Regarding grandparents visitation rights… New federal law that over rides prior state laws. We now have rights as long as we have proof of playing a key role player in child’s life. Now more grandparents are caregivers in grandchildren so lives which is a stronge bonding. Children sometime are used by their parents as manipulation to get what they want from the grandparents. It was proven that children being isolated from grandparents with a strong role in raising the children has a very negative psychology affect on children and grandparents when being separated. This law was passed approx 2-3 years ago.

  • Kerri Ponder

    Wonderful! Now could you please do something about Missouri’s lack of grandparent rights? Kids need their grandparents too!

    • Pam Minehart

      I agree with Kerri Ponder we grandparents need rights also. We love and care what happens to our grandchild , Please give us visitation rights .

      • Tasha

        Well pam I agree the parents need to see their kids but I don’t believe there should be a right or a law because the grandparents don’t raise the kids usually yes there are some grandparents that does and then those cases the grandparents deserve the kids but in a lot of other cases they’re not the parent unless the parent unfit so no I don’t think there needs to be a law however go to court to get the kid from the mom if she’s a bad mom or dad then yes then do so but otherwise no there does not need to be a law

    • Richard

      You are not the parent you should be aloud to visit the child but you shouldn’t have any rights to a child that isn’t your own.

      • Stephanie

        The point to grandparents rights is that their are thousands of us as grandparents raising our grandchildren because the parents are unfit or don’t want to be parents so it is put upon us to care for them yet we have no rights ! I have custody of two of my grandkids after years of them witnessing terrible abuse and my husband and I having to care for them when no one else would unless and until u are put in this situation you shouldn’t talk this is not something we wanted this is something we did in order to keep them from being put in the system as are many grandparents who love their grandchildren

  • John H Kump

    Help me please!!! My sons mother has been able to keep my children away from me for six unjustified years, even though I have had court ordered time with them!!! I cannot afford any more attorneys because I have been paying child support this entire time. Someone please help, they need me and I need them :”(

      • Rose Malam

        I have been trying to find and get my children back for six years now after their father and his parents left the state with them. Once I found them in Kansas and moved there the grandparents literally sold their house quit their jobs and moved with my kids yet again! I’m fighting like crazy to be with my kids and have been and will always but I have to be able to locate them before any court will see me. And Kansas schools and law won’t uphold a missouri court order and the dad is living in Oklahoma and the state won’t uphold our custody order either. So what can I do from here, any suggestions please?

      • christopher braddy

        greg you said you teach people the system. i am a first time single father who wasnt with the mother anymore. she concieved 3 weeks early did not tell me. had opiates in my sons first poop. marconium i think its called dfs took my son before i ever seen him. iam not making this up they have lied to me kept me from my visits even called for drug test after i leave for work i have contact number work over night come home before the sun comes up my neighbor is sleeping i go to bed then when i get up for work i have no time to go take drug test and make it to work on time they will say thats a dirty however i never had the 24hr notice they claim i had 15min. i can prove my case worker denied me three visits now i want them to pay as they have made me suffer my son suffer i believe this is what i need to prove they violated my constitutional rights. will this decission be determined in family court or is it necessary for me to file administrative hearing process

    • amber

      (I am a mom of 5 my daughter lilly her dad has taken it apon him self to take cantrol of are baby girl he says she gose school there and i get her every other weekend i have no say in when i get her we have 50/50 but he got medical and schooling adress not sure what that means but she 4 now and he says she gose school with him its like i have no say in her life and if i dont do what he says i. Dont get to see her tell i do i been court 3 times dont matter to him what judge. Says and i dont do drugs dont even drink never been in jail not even a speeding ticket so why this fair

      • Rachel clinton

        With residential you don’t have a choice take him to court get a parenting plan and if not followed show up with a cop and take your daughter legally, he can not stop you and once she is in school the school has no choice but to follow the court agreement, what he is doing is contempt, and when you file the right charges you can have his rights reduced or switched to where you are the residential.

    • Stephanie poston

      I have a petition with 246 signatures so far addressing the rights of grandparents check it out on my face book Stephanie Poston

  • Janet phillips

    So when there is a parent who hasnt seen ot spoke to their child in over a year even when he has been given every opportunity to do so….a judge has guidelines to follow that will allow a child to be forced to spend time with a parent he doesnt even know or want to spend time with?

    • James

      Loving the gendered language Janet.

      Your hypothetical situation doesnt make sense given the wording of the bill and is a strawman. The default assumption when custody is examined is 50/50 with no preference based on gender, age or income. If EITHER of the parents has chosen to ignore their child when given the chance to visit that would count against them in court and they would likely not get 50 percent custody. fyi most men do not get “every opportunity” hence the change you just read about.

      “Under the law, he said courts should begin any custody proceeding with the assumption parents should share the custody of their children, 50-50. From there, the court can decide whether a different arrangement is justified”

    • Rachel clinton

      A simple answer file abandonment charges, 6 months now contact you you will win sole legal and physical rights, just saying. Check out your rights with a lawyer, not sure where you live but John Fenley is amazing.

    • Rog

      This was my nightmare. Son was sent for full summer visitation last year with “mom” the day after court. He was 5 and had no clue who she was. I was shocked as the judge refused my requests for supervised visits to allow my son to get acquainted. The attorneys just took my money. They sounded agressive at first but then played the game. We followed a narrative that portrayed me as an alienator which is completely false. They all went with her lies over my truths. The court took all holidays from me for two years. I’m still shocked. Sick people stick together apparently. I can’t help but hate these evil people. My son is not the same. I’m not a violent person and I typically obey the law, but 5 minutes alone with each one of them and they would not be the same either.

      • Rog

        I live in Arkansas by the way. My biggest regret is carrying on with our good life WITHOUT serving her while she was in the area. As time went on, I thought of running an ad in place of serving her papers since i did not know her whereabouts but then issues arose with my other child and I was drained financially. It’s a long story but the main point is document and do not delay in taking actions. Know the law because it’s not what makes sense that they go by.

      • Rog

        I live in Arkansas by the way. My biggest regret is carrying on with our good life WITHOUT serving her while she was in the area. As time went on, I thought of running an ad in place of serving her papers since i did not know her whereabouts but then issues arose with my other child and I was drained financially. It’s a long story but the main point is document and do not delay in taking actions. Know the law because it’s not what makes sense that they go by.

  • esther chastain

    I shared joint custody with my ex husband wk in and off. It’s kind of a joke since he is always causing problems lieing about things he has gotten 3 expartas against me and my fiancee and has called dogs like 5 times and has never gotten any where except taken my time away from me and my boys. He works nights and my boys r being bounced around from several different house and he thinks he is going to take them from me now.

  • Deena hicks

    I believe that both parties should share everything unless there is any type of abuse towards the children… I know from experience when my ex took my daughter I did nothing wrong loved my kids and worked gave them everything to only get her every other weekend and some holidays was so unfair . And we are now going thru same thing with my son he shares with his ex everything down middle but she still gets child support and half daycare paid where is that fair that they share 50/50 and she still gets money from my son the system is so wrong and not fair hope this works and gives more good parents there time they deserve

  • Jeannie Carico

    I am so happy about this. About ten years ago a judge granted custody to a grandma, after he daughter recovered from a life threatening auto accident. My son and his wife were separated and were working on getting back together unknown to her mother as she did not like my son. Well she was in this life threatening auto accident and my son was here contact person. He went right to the hospital, checked on the kids and signed papers to keep her on life support. The children’s dad provided these kids with a very nice home. Each with a bed room only mist children could dream about having. Their mother recovered to a point. She had no memory, was barely able to walk, slept most all the time and unable to care for herself let alone two children. The grandmother went to court and lied saying the children’s dad tried to turn off the life support, not true. Anyway money buys good attorneys and grandma got the kids, and custody of her daughter. Then the mother of the kids got some better and was released from her mother and was given the kids. She sleeps often, can not disciplin the kid. If one is hurt she calls their dad to come and get glass out of the daughters foot, she can’t see and is sleeping. The son took a knife and stabbed at her cutting her dress, she had to call the police. The son has developed many mental issues. The daughter got glass in her foot and the mother was asleep and told her to have her nurse at school look at it tomorrow. The daughter called her dad and he went and took care of it. There has been many incidents like this. Dad was an hour away, but he went. The daughter is now wanting to stay with her dad she is fourteen. She fears for her life due to the brother. The mother says if she don’t bring her home she will have him arrested for kidnapping. So that will be another story.

  • Jodi

    Our daughter was having a lot of anger issues and doing a lot of self harm so we put her in a mental health facility. She was very volatile and knocked my tooth out and said my husband and I neglected and hurt her so with NO investigation the county took her into their custody and we aren’t aloud to see her. They have removed her from the counseling we had her in for her severe suicidal tendencies and violent outbursts stemming from her birth mothers suicide and being molested and subject to porn by her grandparents and are close to placing her with them grandparents and have begun collecting child support from my husbands disability just this month….where are our rights and why on earth would they listen to a child with a known family history of severe multiple mental disorders on all sides and disregard the parents who raised her.
    Why as a step parent who was given guardianship when the child was 11 be thrown out period as a parent! I loved and nurtured that child for 7 yrs and the state of Missouri says I am not considered a parent of any kind since I did not adopt her….where do we stand?

  • Tracy Harris

    I wish Kansas would do this my husband doesn’t get to see his kids unless it’s under her conditions we’ve spent lots of money on lawyers and never got to see a judge she doesn’t follow the parenting schedule at all and he pays almost $1300 a month child support I say why pay if the kids are being kept from you

  • Donny

    I am currently fighting a shared custody battle, with the mother of my 8 yo daughter.She is pushing for me to have visitation,every other weekend ,and on the weekend I dont have her one day a week an overnight stay.I have been fighting for over a year ,and still not having any good results.I have been involved since her birth.No prior convictions,I have a sweaky clean background,other than a few traffic violations.I am current on child support.My attorney,and her and her attorney are all trying to get me to accept a standardized parenting plan.I do not want to accept I want as much time as possible with my child.

    • Melody

      I hope you continue to fight no matter the cost. Fight for your child, be honest with your daughter. I know it can be done as my husband has fought and won, not only in court but with the appreciation, thanks and love of his children. Three of these children being over the age of 18 now.

  • Dewayne

    I wished I had this 20 years ago. I had joint custody, but it did me NO good. Because nobody would enforce it Missouri or Kansas. I spent 5,000 in 1987 to get that. She ran off and hide. Told my parents she didn’t want any money and I’d have to wait till my kids were eighteen. Here I fought for 14 years to get Social Security Disability. Over the years the child support I’ve paid is well over 100,000 for the 54,000 , because the interest the state charges for interest. I now live on 380.00 a month because of it.

  • John Smith

    Nice. Its about time . Ive fought for 12 years to get a fare hand . After mom abandoned our. Hild , thin came back and took her . I was never given a chance . Mom is a drug user also . But the judge thought that mom after not even calling her child for the first four years of her life was the better choice. Glad to see us dads will get a fair chance .

  • Tammy

    I personally think that is stupid the child should only have one address not two. God meant for woman to have children and therefore be better at raising children. I raised 2 boys without the help of their dads and they actually turned out great. We are to make sacrifices for our children so a dad should see fit that they belong to one address the one who would be best suited for raising the child. Some men shouldnt have equal custody if they never have changed a diaper fed them or lost sleep trying to passify them. This is a mothers greatest fear is that the father that is not very responsible gets visits unsupervised and they have dont watch them clise enough and some tragedy happens.

    • Wendy

      I have raised my kids my self too. But I have friends that are taking care of the kids that are Dads. And the moms use that to there advantage. I think this is awesome. It’s not about getting up with them or feeding them. It’s about being there. I feel it should be up to the kids if they want to see the other parent. A mom is no better than a dad. And being a single parent u should know that.

    • Sean

      Well, Tammy; how responsible can you claim to be, getting pregnant then becoming a single mother?

      We don’t start of as parents. We start off as people in over our heads, and the rest happens naturally. Children have a way of putting us all through the grinder. I have only seen a few folks who didn’t end up trying to do what’s best for their children, and in those cases the judges will still have discretion to modify the presumptive custody order.

      As far as what I *HAVE* seen; I have seen irresponsible fathers, true. But far more often I have seen malicious and manipulative mothers using their children to harm dad. They don’t even seem to be aware they’re doing it. The worst part is that the courts don’t even seem to care about it; about the damage it does to the child. It’s disgusting.

      Giving birth does not automatically grant you some special parental powers. Fathers can be, and often are, every bit as good at being parents as mothers are.

    • Rachel clinton

      Tammy in so many was I do agree if a child is an infant I would have to agree they need more time with mom, I believe that the father deservesaid the right to see his child as well. It is very important, I am a single mother, I have not go support for my daughter, and did it all on my own. Now I don’t agree it should start off that way, if good cause is shown to say otherwise. My fears came true I begged the courts to give supervised visits, they didn’t and because they believe that 50/50 rights are better my daughter has been rapped and molested, come to find out she was not the first and the family knew about the uncle doing this to the girls. My daughters father stood against my daughter on his brothers be half and the courts have gave him rights, we are about to go back to court next month and his rights should be taken. If not I will go to jail before giving her back there is a lot more to the story as well but if you have no other reason than being the mother that’s not a good enough reason to keep a child from there father. If he is as sick as Jacob mick or charles mick, Charles is the uncle now in jail awaiting the trial then no rights at all should be given now on the other hand if it is petty reasonso the child has a right to there father because ultimately it is not about parents rights it is about the kids rights to have both parents.

    • Mommy of 2

      In your case maybe. But I think every guy should get a chance. Babies do not come with a hand book on how to be a parent. But that don’t give wemon rights to keep the child/children away from their dad. Wemon need to step in the dads shoes for a while. Have to beg to see their kids go to court spending thousands of dollars just to tund around with no rights to see their kids. This is coming from me a females point of view. What makes you think that ur kids couldn’t have growen up just as well if not better in their dads care with out you in the picture. I’m saying this because I have watched my fiance fight for 5 years to see his daughter and our 2 little kids know nothing of their big sister. They know her by a picture that we have showed to them. Our 2 children are healthy smart happy amazing kids. Their should be no reason he can not shair 50/50 with his baby mom just because she is the mom. And yes he does pay child support. He has done everything she has ever wanted just to be able to see his daughter for the past 5 years. And still to this day his little girl has no idea who her daddy is.

    • Tammy

      How would you like it ? If you were told when you could and couldn’t see your kids. Dads should have the same rights as moms. I never keep my ex from our son. So sick of women thinking kids are their property. They are people and need both parents!!!

    • Donna White

      Whats the big deal about having one address ?
      The child/children have 2 parents with 2 different addresses.So what.
      Im so thankful for this being passed !!
      My Man has been denied any contact with his boys for almost 3 yrs now. Only one is biologically his but he helped raise her twins for over 5yrs and they only know him as their Dad..She blames me for the reason he cant see them bcz I made it known I was tired of waiting 15 mins to an hour for her to arrive Everytime and once she didn’t even show up.we called and she was still in bed.. I would rearrange my work schedule just to accommodate her by letting her chose time and place for pick up and drop off..
      Maybe if the boys were kept from her for as long as they are from him she mite rethink her decisions ???
      Im sure the boys are so confused bcz every new penis she gets with is the new dad…
      I certainly hope the judge gives her what she deserves(same courtesy she gave him ) bcz now she has filed for sole physical custody and wants all decisioning making..she definitely cant make good decisions bcz keepin em away from Dad is absolutely not in the best interest of the boys..
      I cant stand parents who use the children as pawns and or punishment against other parent…

  • Amie

    What are the kids supposed to do about school? Go to two different schools, just so each parent can have 50/50 time, and how is this fair to the parent that does EVERYRHING and gets NO support whatsoever from the other parent? You all have just made being a deadbeat parent even easier for some!

    • Ann Henselmeier

      The children would go to one school. Support is given IF one parent makes more than the other. Each parent has to decide how they are going to parent. It is not about getting even with the other person, it is about doing the best for the child/children.

    • Rachel clinton

      One parent becomeso the residential parent and that is the address the child gose to school at and it’s really not that hard to do.

  • Sherry Farley

    That is great ! Now Grandparents rights needs to be worked on ! So many grandparents take care of their grandchildren for years & then all of a sudden a parent or parents don’t want you to see them ! NOT RIGHT

    • Dorrie

      yeah I am a grandmother and me and my husband hasn’t seen one of our grandson’s since he was a year old and he 6 years old now and we don’t ever get to see him or even get any pictures of him he doesn’t even no we are his family his daddy got the wrong end of the deal cause he could not afford to keep his lawer so she got every thing she want or he pays her 200 to 300 a month child support and half the time he dose with out food and shelter cause his pay checks go to child support she fixed it where he can not see his son unless she says he can when and where and the judge went by what she said but every time he call no to see him she would not let him see the child and when he went to the police and showed them the paper’s and tried to them them to help him see his son they would not help him he also has not seen his son since he was a year old but still has to pay child support he was and is being railroaded I am glad they passed this law now they need to pass a law for grandparent’s and my other grandson is 8 my daughters child she gets to see him once in a while but I haven’t seen him either since he was almost 2 he is 8 now I got only one picture of him when he was in pre k and I never got any more after that this is not right I should get to see my grandchildren they should know we are their grandparents but they don’t they were to little to remember us.my son’s little boy don’t even know his daddy has seen him since he was one she want last him he thanks the other guy is his only daddy he don’t even know his real daddy this is really bad for his daddy and his grandparents don’t you thank.and it was all because the judge was good friends with the child’s other grandparent’s so they railroaded him

  • john keithley

    Haven’t seen my daughter in 10+ years, she will be seventeen this year. Maybe this will give a chance to say hello. So much for joint custody for my child.

  • Sheila Tinsley

    Thank you as a mother of 3 boys two that have babies.My boys love their children as much as I Love them as a mother. Were in court now over one baby. He is 6 mos old and my son only gets to see him 2 hrs a week on her schedule. Why is this if people could see our hurt in the inside it gets unbearable at times. Its just not fair. We see pics of the mothers family and even friends bonding keeping him while the mother works when the loving father and the rest of his family is hurting and only wishing they could have equal rights . I’ve watched by boys cry many sleepless nights and we had to wait until the court system makes a ruling. How old will he be until he gets to know his father and his family? 6 mos is a very long time lets see if the table was turned if the mother and her family would handle the situation. As I was praying GOD let me know very quick that he’s our Father I wouldn’t the court system allow my son to be a Great Father also. I pray everyday we will get to bring Baby E home to see his Daddy and his family that loves him as much as his Mommy does.

  • Alex

    I’m curious about cases that are already in place. If the father of a previous child custody case received the usual Missouri-issued “schedule J”, or another decision receiving far less custody than the mother just because of sex, if these cases went back to court would the father have a chance of equal custody as well?

    • Ann

      What about Moms on drugs?? The point is when there are two parents who love and nurture their children there is no reason for them to be kept from either of the parents.

    • H

      Oh please. There are plenty of ‘mothers’ out there who do drugs and are alcoholics and still have custody of their kids regardless of how many times the father has gone to court to change it. You need to realise that mothers aren’t always the best decision and it’s ‘stupid’ that women can get away with this bullshit when men can’t yet we scream for equality! Get over yourself and open your eyes!

    • sheila tinsley

      its only if both parents are capable and loving parents there are stipulations. Its for fathers that are wanting to be daddy’s to their children as a mother of 3 men I’ve seen two of them cry many sleepless nights and as a mother and grandmother there is nothing worse than seeing your boys hurt!!

  • Beverly Frye

    Well it’s a little late for my son. They gave away his rights as a father. Even though the mother had no bigger income them him. I think it was a bunch of shit.

  • Concerned Mother

    I understand completely that there are amazing fathers out there that want to be in their children’s lives. and deserve to have the time that they so desperately want with their child. but what about those father’s that choose not to be in their kids life? they just come and go when they please when it in convenient for them. and what about those father’s with sex crimes against children? that’s what I’m currently fighting for now, im fighting to protect my son from someone who has not had a visitation for 2 years and I just find out that he is on probation and that he is not allowed around children. with Missouri law statue 452 still be in affect to protect my child for this monster?

    • H

      And what about the mothers who do the exact same thing? It’s no different regardless of the gender of the parent. A mother can be just as irresponsible as fathers yet men always get the shit end of the stick when it comes to their children.

    • Rachel clinton

      If the order in place for a child sex offender is in place he will have no chance of getting unsupervised visitation. The lawyer states no children because he is sick, I am as well dealing with dad’s family his brother rapped my daughter and her father was in full support of his brother, your GAL will see his charges and will not allow it for very good reason. They are about to revoke my daughters father’s right because of this and this is after thousands of dollars and 4 years. The man was arrested early last month and we are awaiting the trial

  • Brittaney

    I hope this doesn’t apply to fathers who haven kookt been there since there child was born… Or the one who choose not to be apart of their child’s life we they have been given all kinds of chances!

  • Barbara J Sharitz

    It’s about time the mother always getting the child and all that child support!!! And they can talk about dead beat dads what about the ones that want as much time as possible with their kids !!!

  • Violet

    About time! Fathers (and children) have for too long got the short straw on the custody battles in this country. Way to go, Missouri.

  • Tjm

    From the outside you may think this is a good idea. But for children never feeling they have a true home it isn’t right. They live at both houses constantly living out of a bag going from place to place. The kids never feel a sense home, constantly going to each house but never feeling they truly have a “home.”

  • Judy

    This is a start in the right direction for the children. Still there needs to be laws to protect the non-custodial parent! At this time there are no laws to prevent the custodial parent from keeping the child from the non-custodial parent. Children are being raised by the custodial parent who in turn accuses the non-custodial for abandoning the child by keeping the child away from the non-custodial parent! This happened to my husband who had two sets of children. He paid his child support till his children were 18 years old. The two moms, different case numbers, kept the children out of my husband’s life till their teens. The children all have issues with their dad, except our son who is now facing the same issue with his boys! One mom moved to Las Vegas with our grandson and the other just won’t let our son see our other grandson. Sadly, it’s too late to change laws to help my husband but hopefully it can be done in time for our son, who also was kept from his dad!
    If a non-custodial parent is going to be penalized for not paying child support, shouldn’t a custodial parent be penalized for obstructing visitation rights? Yes!

    • Teresa

      Google The Child Jurisdiction Act of 2003. Read it in it’s entirety! This law applies regardless if you were married or not!

      50/50 time sharing only works if both parents live in the same school district too. So if you lived in an expensive subdivision before you separate- you better hope you can afford a place of your own close to your ex because you will be hostage to live there till the child is an adult.

      The laws no longer consider “the best interest of the child”. The laws do not have to be “fair” they only need be “just”.

  • Justin

    Now what would I have to do to be able to see my kids more since the custody is already in effect and their mom does not want to follow the custody Arrangements

    • Rachel clinton

      I am a mother that has been doing this same set up for 2 almost 3 years and if her father was even a 4th of a good father it would be a great set up, although he exceeds the bad dad line by far. If he supported his daughter at least once it would be different some cases are the same some are different and it works great as long as both parents are good homes and safe for the children, you would be suprised on how well this worksyou don’t have to be in the district just within driving range, my daughterson father lived miles from us but still did week on week off.that part worked just fine

    • Rachel clinton

      That first comment was on another post, to your post file contempt charges and a motion to modify, and amazing lawyer for the St Louis area is John Fenley he is a very amazing lawyer and will help you

    • teri Post author

      I believe parents should live near each other so both can have the most time with the children. That’s what’s best for kids. People should put the children first, but many do not. I know people who chose to live within walking distance of each other so the kids could see either one at any time.

  • J Statler

    Now if you can get it to say if you have exactly 50/50 custody the judge has to grant 50% credit for child support on form 14 instead of giving what he thinks will screw the father more would be great !!

  • Jen

    I think who ever has custody and gets the child support should have to show were that money is going I have always said it should be 50/50 my x kept my kids from me and I am the mom and I paid ever dime to him he had a layer and I did could not aford one so he got what he wanted and took my kids and took the child support and spent it on him self I was not the bad one he was I could not take the beating from him I love my kids to the moon and back and one day my kids will come to me there father is a low life

  • Murphy

    This is great it should be 50/50 custody always unless one is unfit. What about child support. Men always seem to have a huge brunt of this and the women simply plays the I don’t have to pay card. A women should have to provide financially just as much.

  • M Myers

    That is a bunch of crap. Good parents yes, but making a child spend equal time with a parent that is high as a kite, neglectful, drunk, etc is just plain stupid. Better rethink that law. Too many kids will end up abused and neglected.

    • teri Post author

      Every shared and/or equal parenting bill I have seen has included language to deal with abuse and neglect. These fears are unfounded.

      • Rachel clinton

        No these fears are not unfounded I have 3 binders full of documents that prove you wrong, get a lawyer file for a drug test and pay thousands of dollars to prove he is Unfit to find out after 4 year her father and his family has given he ptsd and extremely high anxiety that are off the charts which before the child was fine. And amazing lawyer is John Fenley he can work wonders and has done the most for my daughter very highly recommended and will make sure the child best interest is what’s considered, just saying

          • Rachel clinton

            This don’t even explain half I do believe in equal rights but for the right reasons not just everyone deserves this and in some cases as mine it hurts the children with life long affects, in some cases this law is awesome although in others it’s not.

    • Richard

      What would you do if every two weeks or every other week you were forced to live somewhere else other then your own bed? It would suck. don’t make a child jump back and forth like that. It’s just making them live two life’s and that isn’t okay for their wellbeing. I think every other weekend is what is best for a child, they get to live in their home and get to visit their father/mother a few times a month. Structure is key in a child’s life.

      • teri Post author

        So you think it’s worse to live in two homes compared to only seeing one parent for a little bit each week, after they’ve grown up living with and seeing both parents every day? Do you really think children are more attached to buildings than their parents? I know several families with equal custody and the children love it. They get to have two homes, which means double the friends who live nearby. They get to LIVE with each parent instead of VISITING one.

  • Darla Hendricks

    My son is a quadriplegic, has 2 sons. His wife moved out before the divorce was final and gave the boys to her mother and stepdad. They are now 16 and 10 years old. Child support is taken out of his SS check and sent to her. She is married again with another child. Seldom sees the boys. Joint custody, with her being the primary. Judge said he was unable to take care of them because of his disabilities. She will not give him her address or any information about her new husband. Of course my son is on a fixed income and can’t afford an attorney.

  • Ralyn

    There should not be any grandparents rights the family should decice If the grandparents get the right or not because some grandparents are not fit to take care of there own children so why should grandparents get to take care of their grandchildren. My husband and I are fighting for our daughter to be in our custody because the grandparents have her and won’t let us have her or see her because of some social worker making up lies so that we could not have our baby because we where young and this is not the only case of this social worker going this to young couples with baby’s

    • teri Post author

      False allegations of abuse is another serious issue. So is how inadequate CPS is. Grandparents rights are important because sometimes when one parent dies or gets very ill, the other parent refuses to let the grandparents on the other side see the child. Unless there is abuse or neglect, children do best when many people love them.

  • paul stadler

    My question is how does this work if there is a state line involved and is this new law only for couples who were married? I have never gotten equal time with my daughter and have had to fight or argue I should say just to get her the times that I have and it has been only me transporting my child back and forth. Will this also cover equal costs of transporting the child between homes or should I say will the opposing parent have to equally transport the child? Its overwhelming at times because of all the child support plus providing a home for my child to. I have never been able to have my daughter on any holiday and it has torn me down so many times!

    • teri Post author

      Hi Paul. It’s been so hard getting these laws passed, I believe we have to take small steps. We can keep making them stronger as time goes by and people’s fears subside. Many states have anti-move away laws already in place to keep parents from moving out of state. I’ve also seen judges order that neither can move more than 50 miles away.

  • Sarah

    It needs to evaluate the parent too. How that parent treats the child!!! So often divorce is not because parents just stopped loving each other. It is how the other parent treats the child!!!!! My husband finally got caught years after for abuse and not taking care of our child. Yet it is not just a man. My goddaughter and her brothers mom was the same way. Finally after my Goddaughter was a teen they saw something with her mom yet it effected all the kids. My goddaughter is a mom at 16, used drugs and had to drop out of school. She is slowly changing for the better. Her dad has been back fromAfganistan for a few years now. She is 17 and close to him now. He helps her even more now. Judges need to look at each case individually.

  • Vanna Tanner

    Well thanks a lot for assuming that all men are father material. You have just put some children in great danger. If a man is truly a great father, he won’t have any trouble getting equal time with his child. You’ve just made an assumption that will be detrimental to many children in Missouri.

    • teri Post author

      Why do you assume all mothers are mother material? And you are wrong that all good dads can get shared or equal parenting. Do some research, look into both sides.

      • Rachel clinton

        No these fears are not unfounded I have 3 binders full of documents that prove you wrong, get a lawyer file for a drug test and pay thousands of dollars to prove he is Unfit to find out after 4 year her father and his family has given he ptsd and extremely high anxiety that are off the charts which before the child was fine. And amazing lawyer is John Fenley he can work wonders and has done the most for my daughter very highly recommended and will make sure the child best interest is what’s considered, just saying

  • Gordon Broward

    Perhaps it would be possible for her to go on tour, hit the national news circuits and talk about the bill and her feelings if why it was necessary.

  • Brenda Bills

    Great idea ,because my son’s baby momma gets a attitude she won’t allow him to see his son and she found out that he married, stopped him from seeing him altogether, so this is a great law. Thank you

  • Steven

    Finally they do something things need to be more equal. I know a lot of fathers are paying a crap load of money every month and only getting to see our children 3-4 days a month if that. A child needs both parents and keeping our children from us while the moms holler for more money is not fair to the father or child. A mother who keeps there child from a father wanting and trying to be around should be charged with child abuse

  • Ben

    This is awesome and a welcome change. Its about time equal time to both parents is the default. Well done to this state for making the only genuine progressive move I have seen for a while.

    Well done.

  • Rob

    This is long overdue. As a former Missouri resident, I experienced the backwoods impartial injustice that takes place in a child custody dispute ultimate having negative affects on father-child relationships. My family is definitely a victim of past legislation. Big applause to Rep. Kathy Swan for introducing legislation to make a positive difference. Children need both parents in their lives.

  • Amy

    Ok, this gonna be kinda long. I have been divorced twice and then widowed once. My first husband wanted nothing to do with our daughter, I had child support ordered, but never pursued it cause he didn’t want to be in her life. No kids with my second husband. My late husband and I had a son, as for your grandparental rights complaint; his grandparents had a dog that terrified him @ 18 mos old, he had nightmares for a week after he came home. I asked them 3x to keep the dog away from him and explained why. They refused. I changed my phone number and to this day, 19 yrs later, he still doesn’t wish to contact his father’s family. I still have contact info on them. My last relationship ended after 14 yrs, a baby, and a house later cause he wanted another female. He pays his support, occasionally with complaints, but not often. He has the opportunity to see his son whenever he chooses, except when I have something special planned, which isn’t very often as I work 12 hr shifts. Our son doesn’t wish to spend a lot of time with his father, I have stepped in on more than one occasion to insist our son visits his father. I understand that a father us equally capable of raising a child, but I feel ultimately that the choice should be the child’s. I also understand that not everyone woman is honest about their ex. Our son was 14 when his dad left, so our situation is different than a lot of yours, but both parents are a vital part of every child’s life. My ex and I cannot speak civilly to each other, my fault, I still have A LOT of anger, so we only talk in text messages. That allows me to be more impartial. I hope this helps some of you on both sides. You both chose to make that child, even if the child was a special bonus(unplanned), you both should be able to contribute to the child’s upbringing, regardless of how you feel about each other.

  • kenneth wayne steed jr

    Okay I have a question my husband has a child that he has not seen since he was ten years old. He finally have up trying to see him or talk to him we have tried the divorce was in north Carolina. What should we do legally he will be 18 next July. My husband has payed child support .

  • Kat

    Great now they just need to pass a law for false claims on the other parent. It’s disgusting how many men and women use the system. One side tries to do the right thing and the other will call DFS or law enforcement and make false statements. And guess what? The liar always wins. I’ve seen it time and time again. Like the guy in the comments that hasn’t seen his children for years, or the woman that had to deal with her ex always calling on her. I don’t know their personal stories, but it gets really old Missouri. Tired of the good people always getting the short end….

  • Rebecca Phillips

    I do not believe this is right. For instance, my situation. I’m 20 years old, I have a 3 year old
    Her father is controlling, negative, and a problem. The reason the court usually sides with a mother is for the fact that she is the natural care taker/ giver. When my daughter was born he was never there nor contributed to her needs. My father helped contribute to her needs and my mother helped raise her so I could finish school. It was her father’s parents whom requested time with her. Not her father. He cheated on me several times, and thought he could control everything
    . Now, 2 years later, he took me to court,because the set visitation we had going, was over bearing for my daughter. It was messing her up. At court his only true reasoning was from 1.5 years prior. ( i broke down and for 1.5 months partied and went through 2 or 3 men. Now before you judge, I was a college student, single mom, and I worked. Her father, never had to face the consequences of our sin. Not once. I snapped.) When I met my husband, I changed. I was always at home with her and I became a true mother. But since he hasn’t done anything illegal or harmful. He can have all rights to her. To me, that’s not fair. Even though he hasn’t done anything illegal, he can still have 50% of a chance at her as I do. He was never in her life. Ever. So this law will make it easier for those types of fathers. Now granted, I do not mind it if the mother is a druggie, but in this type of situation, it’s terrible.

  • Rusty

    This is a good start but spouses who choose not to work or provide responsible Finacial support is another problem. I’m in a situation that I’m expected to bear almost all the responsibilities while my Ex continues not work and I have to support her. The Oklahoma courts support her rights and leave me little recourse. The system rewards the irresponsible while the responsible are forced to pick up the slack. This really needs to change!!!!

  • Daniel Grimes

    Thank you Missouri. My son was taking from me because I was active duty military and the court said I was unfit because of my job. My sons mother ran off to Missouri because she was pregnant by her boyfriend and it’s been a living nightmare for the past 8 yrs. If anybody has any more information please contact me via email at rdgrimes229@gmail.com.

  • Shawn

    Well Swan this may be a good law but what about those parents that refuses to pay there share of child support making the excuse that they can’t pay cause they can’t find a job which you should know that there’s many jobs out there. Why haven’t you set up a law for that or does that make since especially when they move out of state and leave the other to defend there self with no help at all. So instead of you putting all the effort into one thing try to make it right for all!

  • Karen Mewmaw

    I believe a child should have stability not I spend one night with my dad and one night with my mom or one week with each I believe in the visitation process but I think the child should have one stable home especially if he has brothers and sisters I think this will be so confusing for a child we have one that the father has her every other weekend and she is 7 yrs old that I know of in all these years he asked to have her one weekend which wasn’t his weekend and she didn’t want to go..He never calls through the week to ask her how school was if she didn’t have the stability of her mother don’t know where she would be he couldn’t even keep her while her mother was in the hospital when asked I think the courts should look at every situation on an individual basis the only time he takes proper care of her is when he has a girlfriend who has a child by him and they are not together when she is with him she spends time with only men she is sent home with hair that has not been touched no baths says she sleeps in her clothes and we don’t eat breakfast so this should be as individual as it is now to protect these kids I know their are also bad mothers but someone need to have full custody of these children so they belong to someone if he would give her up its my understanding that she would have to have someone be her guardian and believe me this father would not want that if something happened to her mother it needs to be kept case by case not generalized

    • teri Post author

      Hi Karen, I used to own a day care business, and several of my divorced families used the 5 day, 5 day, 2 day, 2 day model. With it, weekends are evenly shared. All of the parents and children who lived it loved it.

    • Rachel clinton

      I fully agree and if you pay thousands of dollars and years in court and after they have tramatized the child the court finally will say by the way your were right, I am going in to my 5th year of court and this case the courts have made a joke of them selves, it’s more about parents rights rather then what’s best for the child. Honestly it’s sick the way the courts work. Theyou keep children from good parents and allow terrible parents to be involved. Just saying

  • James

    It has nothing to do with being male or female. All children are human they have wants, wishes, most of all THEY HAVE RIGHTS! It sounds like their rights are finally going to be recognized.

  • Pat Morris

    What about out of state fathers? I live in Kansas. Don’t get to see my son as often as I would like. Mom wants to run the show. She moved back to Missouri with our unborn son without my permission. What to do??

  • June

    wow what a difficult issue.. I am a stepparent to two wonderful young ladies , 37 & 40 years of age whom I love with all my heart and have been with since they were 4 and 7. As a step-mother and a mother of two of my own children, I have a great deal of respect regarding the parenting role of a mother and father because in this life you only get one of each! As a step”mother” it has been difficult but I always did my best to not try to fill their mother’s role, but made sure that they knew I was someone who loved them deeply and they could come to me with anything..and believe me they did :/… I might not be able to take care of their request if it involved issues that should be handled by their mom and dad but I would give them advice and help if at all possible. Unfortunately this is not the norm with our society where split homes are concerned to many petty differences between adults without regard to how it affects our kids when parents can’t get along or take up with new partners who aren’t thoughtful or respectful. Children have a hard enough time dealing with everything that is thrown at them in this crazy world today without being shuffled back and forth between two homes with different values. Yes a mother should give a father every opportunity to spend time with their children but call me old fashion but………. I think that I would of had a hard time letting my girls go half time with their father…….. I don’t know guys, are we really doing what is best for our children?

    • teri Post author

      Shared or equal custody is often much more difficult for parents who want or expect full custody than it is for the children. I had several day care clients with equal custody and every one of the kids said they wouldn’t want it any other way. So maybe your view is affected by your own fears, since you admitted it would be hard for you. It’s not as hard as you imagine. It gives both parents time to work or date without needing to pay for a sitter.

      • Rachel clinton

        My daughter felt caught in the middle she would rather be with me and spend time with her father, she loves him but has requested many of timestuff she would rather not live like that. Her father didn’t care for her properly, terri just cause you worked a day care don’t make you an expert in live this every day and it is very hard in some cases and not all do the kids love it. I do believe it should go case to case and fathers should have equal rights there are bad mothers and bad father’s and you can’t catch them all but this dose not work for all. I promise not all situations are the same and not all parents of both genders should have equal rights. I don’t believe when you show extreme good cause why they still allow terrible parents around or equal rights although if you pay thousands of dollars it can be fixed, not cool. You want to fix the problem it’s the cost of going to court and what it takes frome the kids to battle in court. That’s not fair. And I dare you to tell me I’m wrong I have 3 binders to prove you wrong not all father should have equal rights. I’m not saying all mothers do but it shouldn’t cost 9000 in one year and that’s not all and they are finally going to pull his rights. I can promise you I have more then enough to prove not all men deserve equal rights and that gose for women as well, my daughter father’s sister is one of them women that should not have rights, she knew her brother sexually assulted her daughter and tried to tell her she couldn’t testify. She has stood against her daughter and allowed this to go on since 2009 so not every parent deserveso equal rights. The child deserves to be safe, no matter what rights are set in place. Child safty trumps all parent rights. And if you have money you can have anything you want, our courts are jacked that’s all there is to it now they can charge both parents equal and it will cost a lot more money that’s all this is about.

        • teri Post author

          Rachel, you’re right that sometimes the judge gets it wrong. There are bad moms and bad dads out there, and some try to get custody. But when parents walk into court as equals in the judge’s eyes there is more chance the truth will come out, compared to the judge assuming the mom is always best. Think about the children with abusive or neglectful moms – They deserve to be protected too.

          • Rachel clinton

            They absolutely do and I do not believe a mother should be favored over a father nor a father over a mother. After 5 years they are finally hopefully after thousands of dollars going to make it right. I do not believe that the judge should be allowed to make a judgment off of her own personal feelings when there are documents that prove otherwise and family Court should not cost so much. It is insane. I believe both parents should have an equal chance 100% it shouldn’t be so had to submit things and file things and basically represent yourself. That’s the messed up part not father having equal rights or mother, the care of the child should.

      • Jamie

        Agreed. My ex has a child with me and another by a woman after our divorce. Our equal custody agreement has always included and been centered around what our son needs and is very flexible. If he doesn’t want to spend the night with dad he isn’t forced. Dad makes up for it by doing more school drop offs and pick ups, by taking him on more bike rides, spending time drawing or just hanging out and then he comes back to me for bedtime. And vice-versa. We agreed to get along for our son’s sake and part of that means we are both committed to live in the same city to make transitions easier for him. We celebrate holidays together so he isn’t missing one of us during special events. I don’t receive child support but I do receive plenty of time in the week to work at my jobs and make my own money. I’ve never had the cost of day care or babysitters, not once in 10 years, because we work together to ensure he’s always with one of us or my husband. In contrast, this same guy who has been flexible, has put in the time and effort and love and money to be an involved father since day one is manipulated and treated like a criminal by the court system just because he’s a man. His other child’s mother withholds his son, threatens to take him far away, demands money. lies about her own income to the court which is far more than his. He’s sunk thousands of dollars into fighting for equal rights to his son and at most he is able to have him 2 days a week, if that. She is the classic entitled woman using her child as a weapon all the while claiming that she’s a ‘single mom’ when in reality she has a safe, calm, loving co-parent ready and willing to take care of and support his child but she won’t let him. Kid’s are the victims in these situations and this is truly about THEIR rights to BOTH parents. It just kills me how this woman keeps her son from mine, the only big brother he’ll ever have,out of spite. Our boys suffer because of it, they should have rights to each other, not be pawns in the system.

  • Richard

    What about cases from the passed. I have a 8 year-old son that I get every Thursday and Friday. I get about 8 hours of time that he’s awake each week. Its not fair that I don’t have him more then that. Will this help older cases that have already went they the courts?

  • Sharlene

    Some parents have not been involved in there child’s life should not be able to think they now can have that child half the time..that’s wrong

  • Sharlene

    Some parents have not been involved in there child’s life should not be able to think they now can have that child half the time..that’s wrong…my granddaughters mom has never been a mother…my son has raised her.and my son has his mother and father and now a wife… My granddaughters
    Mother’s mother hasn’t either

  • Kate

    Not too sure how I feel about this. My ex abandoned by son as an infant and now suddenly has reappeared and has decided 6.5 years later that he wants to be in his life. My son has ADHD and either mild autism or some kind of sensory processing disorder and developmental delays; routine and year round school is essential to his development. His father lives in Kansas and we live in Missouri – I don’t think 50/50 will be good for my son. The thought of an uneducated about my son, formerly neglectful man walking into court with me on even footing does not inspire my faith in my son’s best interests. Also, nice that he can not proved a dime of care for my son in the last 6 years but that is not to be considered either. I make too much money to get assistance but not enough to pay for numerous hospital stays due to severe asthma, surgery for his ears and all of the meds to treat his conditions. But, because he says he doesn’t make enough to help me out, his financial obligations and status will not be considered. Under more typical circumstances, 50/50 be better for the child, our circumstances are anything but typical. I believe this should be evaluated on a case by case basis.

    • Rachel clinton

      This law would not apply because of state to state reasons it is more for people that live close to where it would work, also if he could not provide prop care this wouldn’t be apply I don’t believe.

  • Katie

    Ok so i have a question. Say the other parent has seizures that are not under control, anger issues they wont take control of, and has a history of drugs? Is that parent still going to be granted 50% custody? How is that safe for the child? My ex refuses to go see a doctor for his seizures and instead chooses to do drugs I dont want my child around that kind of environment. I havent been to court yet but how can this law be passed when there are reasons the child doesnt go out of the primary parents sight? My ex left when my son was a month old and has never come to see him since. My son is almost four months old. If he hasnt been around in the last three then why give him custody he wont stick with? My son doesnt even know his father why should he be put in an uncomfortable situation with someone he doesnt even know?

    • Rachel clinton

      If breastfeeding they can not do over nights til the child is eating other foods and get records, if you can’t show reasonable reason why he shouldn’t have him he won’t be able to. Hire a lawyer. Just don’t make it seem that it is because of hateful reasons. Doctors reports are the best show he has those problems and they will not start it that way.

  • amanda allen

    The parents should take random drug tests! The parents should be evaluated psychologically before ever left alone with the child! The child should be safe 100% with their parent! My son’s father talks about killing himself and wanting to die too much for me to ever feel safe for my son.

    • Rachel clinton

      Keep all records, and phone calls start only doing messages price them out and date them. It shows history and mental abuse and an unsafe. They will not put a child in an unsafe home but you have to have proper records and a lawyer to prove it. Also theyou start off with small visits they don’t just first court date give 50/ 50 it is unhealthy for tye child and for mental reason they don’t if the child don’t know thexactly other parent.

  • Walter

    What needs to be done is investigation on fsd the child support system for targeting low income families and target all black men this law is onesided and it’s another government system to break up families

  • Doniece Markham

    I’m in Oklahoma and I been going back in fourth to court almost a year. I can’t afford to get an attorney. This is the longest there father had them. His not try g to give me my kids back because the don’t like my son father he think he dangerous. That been said that don’t have anything to do with him giving me my kids back. I think his doing all this do he won’t have to pay childsupport. I think the law is all messed up in the state ok Oklahoma. I never been arrested never got into any trouble. My background is clear.

  • tiffany

    Do you still need an attorney if the custodial parent denies these rights, or what needs to be done? Will these changes affect a child support order?

  • Mom-and-stepmom

    It’s never fair. It’ll never be fair. Divorce is not what God intended when he created the institution of marriage, and I say this as a divorcee myself. But, no-matter-what custody there is, the kids will either be forced to go or forced to stay. It’s not about parents or grandparents. It’s about the kids. Everyone seems to forget that. Stop ripping them every which direction and force them to work together and start ordering more mandatory family counciling. Then, enforce it for custody. Then, you’ll see who really wants their kids.


    Would someone be able to provide us with information so that my son can try his best to gain legal visitation. He has been fought by child’s (mother)parent at place of employment and has been vandalized at his place of residence. No court hearings have been made but through all of this he is still not able to see the child who lives less than a mile away.
    Sad case but any information will gladly be accepted,
    Thanks so much!

  • Matthew eppenauee

    What if the mother and child has moved to a different state and i havent ever been able to even meet my son … how could our law here effect the ones if the other parent moved to florida

  • Shirley Besche

    That’s awsome!!!! My grandson has no rights just a few weekends n holidays n when his job changed he lost a lot of income he couldn’t get child support lowered I think that should be changed n if both parents have equal time no child support should be issued to opposite paren’t !!!

  • Trrent

    It sounds good but, on the other hand the mothers will lie and say that the fathers make way more then they do, and the child support division asks for all of the fathers records of exactly how much rhey make every year. And then the father still gets the short end and paying a way to high child support payment then they can afford. And i know this because its being pulled on me and its hard to be able to keep a safe place for the children to have and so forth. Which is highy messed up. And then when you start paying child support after the divorce your already 3 months behind which isnt fair at all, then you get the mothers that dont want to go by the custody papers either, for some reason they think they can do whatever they want and not get in trouble for it either.

  • Carol Culp

    I say it looks good on paper. I totally agree kids need their parents. Both parents. But in real life. There’s usually one parent that is consistent and gives structure to the children. The other parent lets the kids do whatever they want. Teachers can tell when a child has spent the weekend at the non-custodial parents house. Homework doesn’t get done. The kids were able to stay up later. And come to school with the same clothes (dirty) on that they had on Friday. I think in addition to this law. Divorcing parents need to take parenting classes. They need to learn how to take on the responsibilities of being in charge of their children on their own. Learn how to be able to talk to the ex without causing a scene. Not blaming crap on the new boyfriend or girlfriend. Learn how to be consistent in both households. Both parents be involved in and with the schools. Communicate with each other. Carry out punishments if it overlaps on the others time. Because if it’s equal time. Then punishment is gonna overlap. Or the child will break the rules just before going to the other parents house and get away without a consequence. What’s that gonna teach them. I like the idea of this law. I myself don’t see the kids benefiting. Mature adults that divorce with children should have agreed to equal time in the divorce.

  • Kasi

    What about if one parent passed away of a sudden death and the mother won’t allow his family to see him, do we have some kind of rights?

  • shirley schaefer

    my grandkids father is not worthy doesn’t work on drugs doesn’t even want to see kids so how doesn’t pay child support I their grandmother have supported them for 9 years the kids, so how would this hold up in court to have to pay to validated him not worth it he is a loser

    • Stephanie

      This is where my petition for grandparents rights comes in ! Please sign it at move on .org or on my face book at Stephanie Poston fom excelsior springs mo

  • Jim Flanders

    In Dekalb County Missouri they always side for the mother they made my child support so high I have to work all the time if I want anything decent for my new wife and me . Im in the trucking industry and she took me to court they wouldn’t listen to me try to explain how broke I was they made my child support so high I couldn’t pay it . And then they took my drivers license I lost my truck and has no way to make money so now I’m way behind and my ex wife just keeps on asking for more . I’ve been robbed of knowing my children

  • Alisha

    I am just curious if this will affect past custody cases also? If so then will I have to go back to court? Also I live in another state my son is in Missouri with his dad and I live in Arizona, the parenting plan does not get followed as is. How will this work for out of state parents?

  • Jerry

    Its about time I am a father of 5 kids in Jackson county joint custody of all 5. It took 18 months of negotiation my lawyer did to get my preferred time with my kids. They simply didn’t want to give me my time with the kids but I got it. JR

  • Earnette Smith

    It is about time fairness and the best interest of the child is acted upon too often a good parent is denied the right and privileges of having input in their child life which is a travesty. Thank you Rep Swan

  • Tj Martin

    My daughter pays child support and has visitation, on paper. Her daughter has been kept from her and her side of the child’s family for 4 years. The courts say get a lawyer. That would happen if we could afford it.

  • Hannah

    I have spent close to $10,000 in lawyer fees in almost 5 years to try to enforce 50/50 papers that were amicably agreed upon but for 5 years I have been cut out shorted s*** on and my heart ripped out because those papers don’t mean s*** we’re supposed to have 50/50 and it’s more like 7020 if I even get my 20% instead of making a lot of 50/50 or adding to that law a 50/50 should be something about enforcing the papers the courts have already ordered but every lawyer Sheriff’s Department tells me that there’s nothing that they can do about it it’s a civil matter you have to go back to court I have gone broke every year for the past four and a half five years just trying to get what do time those papers say and I get nothing meanwhile he does whatever he wants whenever he wants allows the stepmother to rain over the mother and I just get to sit back and wait for him to at least let me have the kids once in awhile while the stepmother buys bras for my nine-year- the Stepmother’s daughter at 16 or 17 was laying on the couch with her boyfriend in the presence of our girls and now she is pregnant a teenage mother there’s nothing I can do about it he has all the power in the world there is no such thing as 50/50 we need the papers that are given to us to be enforced if the papers I had were enforced I wouldn’t have a problem in the world I understand that my children need father and mother but when that one parent does what I’m getting done right now it is so wrong and there’s nothing you can do about it or so I’ve Been Told how do I fix this situation cuz I’ve Been Told it’s hopeless my heart has been ripped out my hands tied as I watch my children grow up from afar. And there ain’t nothing I can do about it

  • Deza rae

    Good but no one seems to want to care about the father not allowing the mother contact for five years. Not the prosecutor nor hwy patrol nor police or sheriffs Dept and lawyers cost too much. I had taken him to court multiple times due to him not following the parenting plan and the courts dont do anything but give him a slap on the hand but who’s the one suffering. She is and all she knows is what her dad has told her. I haven’t been able to see my daughter since 2011 and we have joint custody. So where is the law or the government for help enforcing it no where. He thinks that because she lives with him that he calls all the shots and that’s not what the parentimg plan says. I can’t afford anymore attorney fees but I want to see my daughter. She will be 15 this year. Not to mention he won’t let my family see her either

  • Matt

    what if the mother lost the child to Dfs. And they handed her to the father telling him the daughter is to babe no contact with the mother? And the police have told her she can’t have her back because of a child endangerment charge??

  • Jonathan Smither

    If your trial has already ended, how long will it take to change the status of it? Truth be told, the mother isn’t necessarily the best choice but that is what has happened to an abundance of good father’s out there. Can us good father’s appeal our cases that the judges with too much power have passed? Let me know please.

  • Nicholas Roessler

    This would be great and I would be able to at least see my son, if he were in Missouri. Nothing would make me happier if I could just talk to him from time to time…..

  • betty eyster

    So glad to see things will be more equal my son pays his child support but his rights are not equal.the scales have always been tipped to her ,meaning the moms favor.

  • JD

    Nobody care’s.

    I’m not being a jerk, I’m being realistic. As a society, people do not put in remotely the same effort or the same passion into male rights in this country. Males are far-ahead leaders in suicide, just below the 50% mark in domestic abuse victim populace, falling behind in all levels of education, significantly higher death rates in the workplace, and the list goes on and on. But nobody cares.

    None the less… keep up the fight!

  • Richard

    Young children need structure. 50 50 isn’t structure, it can stress a toddler out when there is too much change and it’s not what is best for a child. Don’t force them to live in two different walks of life

  • mike marco

    well the judges have been corrupt for quiet some time with all the title 4 money they are paying them sleves. there not gonna give up thst money. this new law will be laughed at by judges. the system of oppression in the US has been in place since the beginning.. you can’t expect that the people in power are gonna let go of it anytime soon. it was a nice read however. keeps us sheep working away with our head down. gives us just enough hope that things are changing. makes the weaker ones believe that the government is doing a good job

    • Jason

      I agree, even with this, I have 50/50 already cause she wants to go have fun instead pkg being a parent. So she got 50/50 $655 a month (max child support for full custody) I supply insurance and she claims taxes every year. I also raise her child from a previous relationship 50/50 whom $100 of that $655 is for her. Yes, I’m paying child support on another man’s child I did not adopt, and am raising 50%. I’m doing all this, working full time on a factory floor 50-60 hours a week. (10-20 hours off over time to pay this child support) having to pay a babysitter to watch them while I work more then 40+) she works part time minimum wage, stated in court she don’t work full time care she wants to spend time with the kids, but won’t watch them so I can work over time.
      This means nothing until they force equal financial support. And when they do that, they’ll still want mom to have custody so dad better watch his step, one lulu and they’ll throw his ass in jail for some petty garbage and mommy wins again.
      Lawyers are corrupt, judges are corrupt. Mommy wins the gold, daddy’s living in a box, no one cares.
      P.S. gender equality is also garbage, our circuit court judge is a woman who got the opportunity to hold that position based on years of screaming gender equality…where’s my gender equality?

  • Greta Kurve

    If there is NO abuse of children in the family by either parent, 50-50 custody is AN ABSOLUTE MUST. The constitution provides the right to parent one’s own child. Unfortunately for the benefit of the money stream into lawyers accounts parents who can afford go to court to fight for 50-50 which should NEVER be the case.

    If ANYONE is putting the interest of the child ahead of ego, retaliation, revenge etc, then MAKE 50-50 custody the NORM to be in compliance with the constitution of USA. Just because MOM and DAD have problems, children should NEVER be USED as pawns to play out their revenge for the hurt caused by one or the other parent. If the interests of the children are of PRIME concern to the COURTS, then don’t assume that children do not want one or the other parent. CHILDREN NEED BOTH PARENTS IN THEIR LIVES for the feeling of security and self-confidence. It is painful and tragic for children to live with the situation of parents in 2 separate homes – think of all the bullying in school etc. – HOW CAN ANY HUMAN BEING (and I mean human being!) decide for those children who are NOT independent in their thinking (being dependent on either parent or fear retaliation)? Really folks – seriously- you think courts should decide more or less than 50% for each parent? These are children who have a whole life ahead of them – DONT DESTROY THEIR DREAMS OR THEIR WORLD!! Neither the parents nor the lawyers or courts feel the pain or understand the uncertainty experienced by these children.

    Don’t complain that children growing up in “single-parent” home end up with problems. If each parent considers that the interests of the children are a PRIME concern, why can’t the parents compromise – it takes 2 to tango – a divorce does not HAPPEN. It is the result of each parent not treating the other right! Children are not the reason for the divorce. DIVORCE is BETWEEN SPOUSES NOT BETWEEN PARENT AND CHILDREN!!

    I did not grow up in the American culture – filled with psychologists for everything – what a sad state of affairs!

    • Greta Kurve

      Child support payments is also a MUST for parents who have to provide and don’t have the means – the higher-earning parent pays the lower-earning parent based on a EQUALIZING formula – not just ANY formula!

  • Michelle Clover

    I don’t think anyone other then an abusive family situation should ever get to even fight for custody. Both parents are the parents therefore both should have custody, end of story. How can they ever assess one over another. Parents who fight for custody just to have custody are in the wrong unless there is an actual documented abuse situation. Child support should be put in an account that both parents are required to contribute to and such account is for clothes and other needs. When child is with one parent or the other they should be required to pay for food, housing and such. Part of the problem is child support. The other problem is that the courts don’t look at human nature and realize that they give kids choice, which they shouldn’t before the age of 18. They give one parent more control then the other, which puts one parent in a position to use child as a control mechanism. The fact that courts give control to one parent ever, unless there is documented abuse, means the courts are actually the creators of alienation. Taking custody out of the hands of one parent is the only way to keep it about the children. Afterall both parents are equally needed in a child’s life. Saying different, is why there is a problem in the first place. There should be a federal law requiring both have custody and general rules as to how it is handled. After initial court date, going back to court should be a rare thing. Each time there is an issue and it goes to court that creates even more abuse to the situation. Courts create pain and abuse for kids of divorce because of their allowance to continue to hear cases time and time again. They expect people, who are getting divorced to all of a sudden get along. They act like the angry parent won’t play with a childs emotions to get back at other parent. 80% of divorce cases have issues of alienation and NO ONE ever addresses it. Courts obviously do not actually care about what it truly right for the child..

  • Tanya Tessman

    I think of the child is the one being considered not a parent then someone should see the impact on a child that has to go between 2 houses during a week with different patterns and rules. The 50/50 is a great idea but practicality and reason for a child doesn’t work in my experience. I do feel however that change needs to happen because there are just as many great dad’s as mom’s and it shouldn’t be biased based on sex but the 50/50 isn’t the best. I am sure this doesn’t go to the Rep. But hopefully someone will reconsider.

  • Shannon

    How exactly would 50/50 custody work for parents that live in different cities or states? Would the child have to be uprooted from school and enrolled in a new school half way through the year every year? It would’t work to do every other week. How would they work a case like this?

  • Peggy C

    My daughter has been divorced for a year and her X keeps sending nasty Texes and won’t leave her alone they have 2 boys 8 & 11 he tells her thing like they should be with me all the time because you can’t help with homework ( he is a principal ) the 8 year old says I can talk to my Dad any time I want and as long as I want the lawyer said so custody is split 3 days 1 week and 2 days the next and then every other weekend. He is out of control by the time he come back to his mother. He says things like I know whst a vigina looks like and other things inappropriate. My daughter was molested by my father when she was a child and her X says she shouldn’t have the boys, I was also molested so I know we both are very aware of not doing this. He sends her text’s 3 or more time a day. Whst can she do to have him leave her alone. His girlfriend has been living with him since before the divorce. Please let’s us know what she can and can’t do to stop this she loves the boys and wants her X to leave her alone.


  • Cheryl Hobbs

    This law could be good for some. Bad for others. In the case of parents who mistreat their children, this will be horrible for the kids. It’s also very confusing for children. This gives them no stability. Parents also discipline differently. We all know that not every set of parents agree on everything and so will discipline differently, if at all. That makes it very hard on the parent who is raising their child with morals and ethics. Also, if it’s going to be 50-50, then there should also be no need for child support to be paid by either parent. Childcare, insurance, and medical should be divided equally between both parents. Since this bill has passed, can parents go back to court and get their prior proceedings amended? This law would would be awesome IF we lived in a perfect world.

    • teri Post author

      If divorced parents have different parenting styles, they probably did when they all lived together too. Every shared or equal parenting bill I’ve seen had language to address abusive parents. Studies show kids with shared/equal parenting do best. It’s the only option that doesn’t cut one parent out of their lives.

  • Tom Johnston

    Will the new law do away with child support? My ex and I roughly make about the same amount of money, but because I have to pay child support and provide health care insurance I had to pick up more work to pay for it. So, on paper I make more money, but in reality I’m working more to pay for support and health insurance. What’s a father to do? My child’s mother is doing much better financially with receiving support and not having to pay for health care. To me 50/50 should be. ..when I have my daughter, I take care of her. When my ex has her , she takes care of her. ???

  • Clarissa

    Myself and ex husband have 50/50 visitation since 2009. It worked fine until the kids got in school and activities. My ex husband doesn’t want them to be in any activities because it takes up his time. He doesn’t do anything with them. They go to his house and set inside and play video games or nothing. I took him back to court back in 2014 for 8 contempts on his behalf. We are going to trial this October 2016 over all of this. Visitation is number one on my list to change because 50/50 isn’t working for us anymore. I have to do all the driving and he doesn’t do hardly any driving. I drive 17 miles to my ex husbands house to pick them up before school then drive 17 miles to get back to my house so that my children can get to school. That is 34 miles 5 days which equals 170 miles a week. I’m not for just having 50/50 for visitation. If it works for some divorced parents….that is great. But it doesn’t work for all divorced couples.

  • Sheila Short

    If your bill equalizes things then why is my son still going to jail for not paying child support to a woman who gave birth to his son but is not raising him. The child lives in Tennessee with my brother ( the fathers family) while the mother lives in Texas with her new boyfriend and kids. My son is a single dad who is trying to raise his daughter but keeps in trouble over child support out of Missouri. Nothing equal in this mess.

    • Darla Hendricks

      My son is a quadriplegic and his ex wife gave their sons to her mother and moved to the city in 09 and she still get the child support. She has remarried and has another child

  • Jack Olson

    I live in WI, my kids are in MO with mom. I was in court 10-27-16 in town of Neosho, asking for all but 3 weeks of summer, denied, I only get 6 wks odd yrs and 4 wks even yrs. And its two weeks on and two weeks off. Hmmm making my kids travel 60hrs in 6 weeks. Christimas-I asked for all but 5 days and I would spend two weeks with my kids in Neosha (staying at a motel)-denied. Mom gets every Christmas day, me 0. I get part of Christmas Eve. She gets 12 days, I get 7 and I cannot stay there for two weeks and have them before Christmas either. Spring break I asked for most and I would come there also and stay two weeks, denied. I get 3 day. Fathers Day will only be every other year. I was told before Court started I should agree with this plan (her plan) because the judge has never given any one parent most of summer. Really? I dont even get half. I have to do all the driving back and forth to pick up and drop off. Pick up is at 6pm. May as well go stay at a motel with kids for that day. Point being, judge had already decided. There is no 50/50 shared placement being enforced. Anyone have any suggestions. Im still waiting on my attorney who seems to not want to “cause” any waves with the judge. This 50/50 shared placement does work in WI. Father would get the whole summer.

  • Carol

    My grandson will be sixteen in Dec he has lived with me since 2011- about five months mother gave me gardenship in 2016 I.am his none biologic grandmother does he have the right to stay with me if she try’s to take him help asap.please

  • Sherry Rogers

    My son pays child support but not allowed to see child they both live in same state.. they wasnt married and she told my son she was pg by another guy,,so DNA done its my sons child he wants to get to know his daughter..she calls another man dad the mom is no longer with this guy but he gets too see her,,So I ask why my son should continue to pay child support if he can never see his daughter..he cant afford a lawyer, could someone please help.. would love to get to know my granddaughter my health isnt good and so unfair to the child not to know birth father or gparents

  • Felicia A Green

    This law is not in the best interest of the children, it only served to give some fathers a way to get their child support lowered. My daughter did not come from a divorced household. She lived with me, a single mother, as a large percent of African American do. Her father had every open opportunity to spend time with his daughter and support her. He would spend some time with her and gave her the support he though was fair and adequate. As she became older, her living expenses were more and that’s when the conflict began. I chose to allow the state to calculate and enforce the child support to avoid constant conflict. Of course he had the money to hire an attorney. The judge gave him a tremendous amount of visitation, which devasted my 12-year-old daughter because it disrupted her life to be removed from her home at this rate. After receiving 39% off his child support and costing him over $50,000.00 in attorney fees, he received his discount, but NEVER exercised the visitation. My daughter is now in her 2nd year of college and he still gets 29% off. This law needs to be corrected. Just as the law is set to automatically end child support at a certain age or circumstance, the visitation credit should be automatically ended at the age of 18. Be fair to the mothers that raise our children.

      • Jack

        One could also say a parent wants no more than 5 over nights given to other parent because she wants to make sure she gets as much child support as possible. Many households have two parents working. One parent shouldn’t have to give up all their money. Both parents take care of the kids, both parents share costs. Kids need both parents despite why they seperated.

    • Adam

      Your daughter is in her 2nd year of college? So he is still paying you money even though she is over 18 and is in college? Consider yourself lucky. Missouri is only one of about four states that extends child support beyond high school, that’s the law that needs to be changed.

      • Sherry Adams

        My question is . my son pays Child support on his child but cant afford to take ex to court to see the child. the child does not know any of
        her fathers people. but its ok for the child to call other man dad. we all would love to spend time with my grand daughter.
        To get to know her . i have been told i don’t have but maybe 2 yrs to live . would just love one time to hug her and tell her I love her,

        • teri Post author

          I don’t know where you live, and they’re not common, but some non profit organizations will help parents with court paperwork to gain access to children. And many courthouses have people who help for free. Best wishes!