Colorado's shared parenting bill proves highly controversial

The Colorado legislature seems likely to support a bill that would encourage equal parenting time in child custody disputes.

Bill would require judges to explain why a 50/50 split would not benefit child

A bill currently under consideration by Colorado lawmakers is drawing plenty of controversy, both within the state and across the nation. According to FOX 31 News, the bill, if based, would encourage courts to award equal parenting time to both parties in child custody cases. The bill has support from fathers' rights groups as well as some child psychology experts; others, however, have criticized the measure for opening up the door to unwanted and dangerous side effects, such as giving abusive parents more power in divorce cases. The debate surrounding the bill is part of a larger one that has gripped both courts and statehouses across the country.

Shared parenting bill

The shared parenting bill, Senate Bill 15-129, would require judges in Colorado to recognize parental rights as being fundamental rights. Such a situation would encourage judges to equally split parenting time among parents based on the presumption that each parent has a right to an equal amount of time with his or her child.

Judges would still be able to order an unequal allotment of parenting time, but they would have to provide written reasons for why a 50/50 split would not be in the child's best interests. Supporters argue that studies have shown that children who are raised by both parents are more likely to do well in school and be more fulfilled later in life. The bill has support from lawmakers in both parties in the House and Senate.

Equal parenting controversy

Despite the broad bipartisan support for the bill in the legislature, the proposal has plenty of detractors. Many critics, for example, worry that presuming that a 50/50 split is in a child's best interests gives abusive parents too much leverage in divorce cases. They worry, for example, that a parent may try to use the threat of gaining 50 percent parenting time as a way for the other parent to give up key assets or demands in an overall divorce settlement.

Furthermore, according to the Wall Street Journal, critics of shared parenting bills argue that child custody cases that actually make it to court tend to involve parents who can no longer get along and are therefore not likely to be well suited for equal parenting. Many critics also say that shared parenting bills make custody disputes about parental rights rather than the child's rights. They worry that if the bill passes, judges will have less discretion in tailoring a custody order to best protects the needs of individual children.

Family law

Issues related to family law tend to stir up a lot of debate since they often have a direct impact on the daily lives of countless families in Colorado. Anybody who is concerned about their own family law issue, including child custody, should reach out to a family law attorney today. A qualified attorney can provide clients with the guidance and knowledge that can prove invaluable when trying to protect their family.

Keywords: divorce, child, custody, shared parenting