Kentucky’s monumental passage of a shared parenting bill last year has been deemed “the most popular vote in the state.”
According to a recent article in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Administrative Office of the Courts reported an 11 percent reduction in domestic court cases and a reduction of 445 domestic violence cases under the law. Missouri, the Show-Me State, has clearly been shown.
More and more Missouri elected officials are turning their attention to the critical and frequently intertwined issues of social justice and criminal justice, and this provides every opportunity for legislation that lawmakers will file again in the 2020 session to be a top priority. The policy change starts with a premise that there are two fit parents and provides a judge with discretion to determine otherwise and a built-in mechanism for a rebuttable presumption.
Some progress has been made.
Missouri has passed a law that requires written findings of facts and conclusions be submitted in all contested cases and created an access motion form that can be filed by a parent without the cost of an attorney. Another important provision prohibits courts from adopting local rules or a default parenting plan, and a new guideline book is required to be printed with the policy of all parties maximizing shared parenting opportunities.
Given this positive movement, National Parents Organization gave Missouri a C+ grade in the recently released 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card. However, Missouri families deserve an A+.
New legislation could create a uniform law that reduces conflict and mitigates real-world situations where what lawyer you have, or money in the bank, or even the presiding judge, are factors that can tip the scales in favor of one parent.
Clearly, change to family law can be difficult. Conflict and strife pay attorney fees, and lawyers pay attention to legislation. However, stagnation on this issue is hurting families. The bias is overdue for a correction.