Wallingford advocates for equal custody preparations in new invoice
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Missouri custody arrangements could – with a few exceptions – be the same by default with every parent due to a new house law pre-filed earlier this month.
HB 299 from return state Rep. Wayne Wallingford would change the state’s law on custody agreements. If passed, the bill would add the presumption that it is in a child’s best interests to give each parent equal or near equal custody time, and the court would not uphold that rule. The presumption could be rebutted by a parental custody agreement or if a court determines that there is a pattern of abuse.
“We need to focus on what’s best for the child,” Wallingford told the Missouri Times. “Divorce is a common battleground, but insufficient attention is paid to what is in the best interests of the child. So this bill says that custody will be equal as long as both parents are able to do so and have good moral values in the eyes of the law. This would fall by the wayside if either parent turns out to be unsuitable in any way. “
Wallingford said a similar law was enacted in Kentucky in 2018 and has read studies examining the effects on relationships between children and their parents. He said he believed the typical rule imposed by many courts could be detrimental to families facing custody battle.
“Some time ago a judge in Texas ruled that everything would be fine on Thursdays and every other weekend, and then all of a sudden all the other judges looked at that decision, and that’s how it’s been treated for a long time,” he said. “It’s not fair to either parent or child. A child needs a mother and a father, but in most of these situations you go to court as parents and leave as a visitor. That really robs the child of that relationship. “
Wallingford sponsored the same bill in the Senate last year reclaim his old home in November. He said most of the lawmakers supported the bill in the upper chamber, despite the fact that the Committee on Families and Children passed it and was added to the informal calendar a week before the Senate entered the office extended break March. He expects it to move forward during a more typical legislature, he said.
“This bill is my top priority when I go into the house,” he said. “When it was done on this site this year there were no issues so I hope it can go through the House fairly quickly and hopefully it can also be successful in the Senate. I think it’s what’s in the child’s best interests and sometimes the parents or the courts overlook that. It’s not about the husband or wife – it’s about the child they created between them and that is the important part of this topic. “
The 2021 legislative period begins on January 6th.
Cameron Gerber studied journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, he earned an associate degree from State Fair Community College. Cameron is from Eldon, Missouri.
Contact Cameron at [email protected].