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« Presumption of Joint Custody | Main | Presumption of Joint Custody - Another must read article »


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Dan La Fountain

Elizabeth Sadowski believes that HB 5267 would not be suitable for some of the following reasons:

The kid is too young for school and the other parent lives 50 miles away; (Why is this even listed)

One parent has never really been interested in the kid, but wants the more favorable child support treatment 50/50 would bring; (Why isn't it listed that one parent isn't really interested in the kid but wants the child support?)

Berates the other parent mercilessly; (Like parent A taking a child to the emergency room after each term of parenting time to try and prove sexual molestation, but yet the FOC recommends custody to parent A)

Smokes. In the house. A lot; (Like Parent A who also is an alcoholic and takes the minor child to the bar when a baby sitter is not available, again, evidence submitted to FOC but FOC recommends Parent A have custody)

Associates with really, really, unfit others; (Parent A brings 3 separate individuals home from the bar who all 3 have sexual molestation charges against them. Evidence provided to the FOC who recommended parent A have Custody)

The system is prejudice against fathers who are the logical choice to be the cusodial parent but are denied simply because of their gender. It does not matter how much evidence is submitted to the court system, the answer is typically always the same: Fathers get 4 days a month with their child.

A presumption of joint custody is imperitive to a child's best interest.


The system has failed too many families and the truth is getting out. Lawyers like the one who wrote the article are about making more money for their industry including the lawyer judges. Science has already spoke and children need both parents so that they may develop properly so stop the lies and mistruths by discussing a select few cases where one parent is much worse then the other but still not unfit so that you can define the proposed law as bad. The current system is and has been destroying children's lives and denying them their right to both parents. The status quo has made it their habit of only allowing fathers 20% custody and then requiring them to pay bloated support that doesn't take into account the true costs of raising children in both households. The money is what the state and the lawyers are in it for so you are not fooling people anymore.

Jeanne M. Hannah

Darrick, please see my response to your other comments, which I will re-publish as a post to this Blog so that all can read them. JEanne Hannah

Cory Mackwood

I find it disturbing that arguments against a Presumption of Joint Custody focus on the minority situations where one parent (let's for sake of discussion say it could be mom or dad) is somehow abusive, a dead beat or only started caring about the child after filing for divorce.

The GREAT MAJORITY of parents are good people, not abusive, love their kids more than any amount of money could compare and simply want an EQUAL say in raising their children. JUST AS THEY HAD THE DAY BEFORE THEY WERE SERVED/FILED FOR DIVORCE.

The current law does not insure this. Parents and children deserve that it does.

No law will be perfect or cover all situations, thats why HB5267 still allows judicial discretion. Those that argue against it should consider that if they are THAT sure these awful parents exist they ought to introduce a law to 'identify these parents' and strip them of their rights, why wait until divorce? Absurd, just like the current system in place since 1970.

Parents and children alike deserve the relationship to remain in tact. The LAST thing in the childrens best interest is to lose equal time with mom and dad.

Rroert Hutchinson

The children belong to the parents not the state or courts or foc or goverment i oppose the fedearl monney used by state's for profit
it's not for the chidren's best intrest what a scam


It is fallacious to state that a presumption for shared parenting is a cookie cutter approach. A presumption that the legal system is able to discern what is in the best interest of other peoples' children and a presumption that women are better parents than men and a presumption that children do not need a father to help them (except financially) is the real "cookie cutter" approach. Shared parenting helps parents decide together what is in the best interest of their children. When the parents can't agree, then a presumption for shared parenting prevents lawyers from driving the father out of the family.


I will admit that I did not know that bias in the family courts existed until the day I was thrust into it. Since our daughter was born I was there in a daily basis. Mom who was working part time stayed home and I went back to work to support my family. When I got home on a nightly basis I spent as much time as I could with our child before her bedtime. I woke up with child and participated in feedings... I was an equal partner or parent in raising our daughter on a daily basis. Did I change exactly 50% of the diapers? Probally not. Did I cook every meal? Probally not. The message I am saying is that I was there on a daily basis.

After we seperated due to issues regarding her refusal to work and her refusal to pretty much do anything that would benefit our family unit she and our child went back to live with her parents. I even recommended counciling for us in an attempt to get our family unit back togther again.

Mother became very stingy with the child. Now all of a sudden the child I helped raise on a daily basis was not allowed to spend time alone with me. Mother wanted to supervise. Mother even caculated her future support payment and now demanded that money or else I would not spend any time with our child. Since mother was used to not working the easiest thing to do besides getting a job (which she was completely able to do) files for ADC. Now mother has money comming in (for rent and also supporting our child) at her parents house.

Fast foward to the court date. (Now the fun Begins)
I got to witness the woman who said I was such an amazing father downplay every single good trait I posessed in an effort to make me look unfit as a parent.

Apparently this was very effective because in closed quarters the judge apparently decided that I was not going to win. The honest and fair minded judge decided that after hearing 1/2 the testimony that I was not going to win. My lawyer said his words were " Tell your client that his best bet is to make a deal with the defendant because he is not going to like what I tell him" When I asked this fair minded judge how he could make a decision without hearing the entire case he replied " I did not make a decision because you decided to come to an agreement. $5000 in attorney fees wasted down the toilet. $5000 that would have been better spent on our child. I agreed to pay full support and I have parenting time with our child on nearly a daily basis. Since I was working 3rd shift at the time overnight parenting time was not an option.

Now due to our lack on experience we overlooked a few things like transportation. I assumed she would help..... Wrong!!! going back and forth to court the final order made her responsible for 50% ot transportation and she also had to supply medical coverage (myself as well)
through any employer.

Now after 4 months of dealing with and abiding by our court order the woman on welfare has no better use for that money to go back into court with a new lawyer to fight providing something as simply as transportation and medical coverage for our child. Her new excuse: She has no car to provide transportation. Instead of asking a grown 26 year old woman why she has no car, job, income, insurance on child, etc, he simply said the plantiff can do it all. Is this in the best interest of the child to spend a majority of your time with a parent with no job? No car? No means of supporting a household?

is this the best interest of the child?


Forgot to mention that in the year past since this order was entered I have since returned to first shift. Since this establishes a change in circumstance I am once again in court fighting to get my parenting time changed. I am being shorted in parenting time and mother is not offering me any extra time. I now have her on a almost daily basis. I am trying to adopt a 2 week schedule with 3 days on and 4 days off and then rotating to 4 days on and 3 days off. Mother is against this for her various reasons.
I have been a part of every aspect of our child's life.

Why should I be discriminated against because I have a job and support our child?


On December 12th 2006, the nine-member Family and Children Services Committee in the House of Representatives reported adversely on proposed legislation that would have allowed children to have substantial and continued contact with both fit parents.
The Shared Parenting House Bill 5267 will die in committee because Democratic State Representatives Dudley Spade , 57th District, Brenda Clack, Minority Vice-Chair, 34th District, LaMar Lemmons Jr., 2nd District, Gino Polidori, 15th District and Republican Barb Vander Veen, 89th District did not do their duty to our state's families because they failed to vote for the bill. On the other hand, many thanks for voting for children go to Republican State Representatives John Stahl, Committee Chair, 82nd District, Tom Pearce, Majority Vice-Chair, 73rd District, Jacob Hoogendyk, 61st District and Fulton Sheen, 88th District.
Many people - mostly concerned parents and citizens - attended public hearings on the bill to voice support; and all listened while those with a financial interest in seeing the bill fail (such as the Friend of the Court Association, the Michigan Bar Association, the Michigan Chapter of the National Organization of Women, lobbyists from domestic violence groups, and even government employees) all lobbied against the bill.
Those who supported the bill relied on a basic premise that children should have both parents frequently involved in their upbringing as much as possible even after a divorce. This seemed like a simple argument, seeing as how it closely resembles how in-tact families already currently operate.
However, the arguments against the bill obviously outweighed the importance of trying to maintain the right of a child to both parents. The opposition argued that some women and children may be harmed by allowing a close relationship with both parents during and after divorce. The opposition believes that presuming both parents equal unless proof otherwise is not a Michigan ideal. The opposition would have you believe that requiring proof of abuse is too high a standard for child custody therefore no child should have the right to both parents.
I question the true motives of the opposition, Federal welfare programs paid for by Social Security - like Foster Care and Adoption Assistance, and Child Support Enforcement - provide hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding to each state only when children are separated from one of their parents. Typically those that oppose shared parenting legislation are those who benefit financially from these programs.
70% of all owed support is never collected because it comes from low income fathers who typically never see their children. Over four billion dollars from Social Security, plus several billion dollars more in state taxes, will have been spent in 2006 alone for just the collection of child support across the country. An overwhelming majority of that money is spent on establishing orders and collecting support for the children of divorcing middle- and upper-class families whose fathers want to spend more time with their children but can not do to the current family court system.
Families in crisis legally do not have any other place to turn than to the state court system for help. But if state courts were to allow both parents to continue to take an equal role in the responsibility of raising their children after divorce, this would minimize the orders for child support left for the state to enforce - which would also mean that the state would lose billions in federal funding; and so would those who consistently oppose keeping both parents involved after divorce.
Very little common sense is needed to understand that sharing parental responsibilities doesn’t harm children – and it shouldn't take much more common sense to see how it would instead cause more harm to those who benefit directly from the funding received when children are torn away from a parent. These people do not take into account the overall social costs of denying children substantially equal time with both parents. You can help our society by letting the committee members as well as all of your politicians know that they need to support Shared Parenting and let's begin to heal our state by building stronger family ties when we respect both parents equally.


Wow, it's not too hard to see where you stand on the issue of equal parenting rights.

"The kid is too young for school and the other parent lives 50 miles away;"

50 miles is not that far. That's one hour of driving. If you advocate keeping a child from his father because of a mere 50 miles then I fear for any child in your life.

"One parent has never really been interested in the kid, but wants the more favorable child support treatment 50/50 would bring;"

This works the other way as well. There are many women who use children as paychecks and you know it. How fair is to a man that a woman gets full custody of a child when she doesn't want the child and is incapable of the child, solely to get the tax-free annuity that it brings.

"Parent “A” left the family to own and run a group home for “unfit” others where the child isn’t comfortable. (I have that case right now);"

So you made a poor choice and want to blame others for it? Doesn't this bill already make stipulations for unfit parents?

"The child has profound health care needs to which only the other parent has the skills and dedication to attend;"

Unless the mother is a doctor, I hardly see where only one parent has the skills and dedication to attend to those health care needs.

"Parent “A” has never, ever, helped the kid with homework, never, ever, even met his teachers or went to a single school event (these cases abound) but sits in front of the TV all the time and calls it “interaction”;"

Maybe that parent works 12 hours a day to put food on the table, a roof over their heads, electricity in the walls, water in the faucets, gas in the car, the car itself, clothes, school books, and so on. Maybe after long hours at the office that parent is tired. I think he has a valid excuse for not participating.

"Lives in an area that is unfit where street crime abounds;"

Gosh, if he weren't forking out half of his income to a woman he may be able to afford a better lifestyle.

"Berates the other parent mercilessly;"

You must be joking. As a child of a single mother, with many friends of single mothers, and experience in youth counseling, and the fact that mothers get 85% of the custody in this country, I can tell you that women are the major culprits in this one.

"Smokes. In the house. A lot;"

Where are your statistics on how many men versus how many women smoke. I'd love to see those. That is an easily modified habit.

"Associates with really, really, unfit others;"

And what is the standard for judging who is a fit person and who isn't? Would a fit person be someone who is honest, treats everybody (including former spouses) with respect, and demonstrates sound judgement? Because the fact that single mothers are the most likely to declare bankruptcy tells me that they aren't honest, don't treat everybody with respect, and lacks sound judgement.

"The other parent takes the child to his parents constantly and only uses this statute as a backdoor means of grandparent custody to satisfy control freak grandparents who like to indoctrinate the kid into their weird religion and alienate him against parent “B”."

Gosh, does somebody have some serious issues that should be taken up with a therapist? Letting personal issues get in the way of a decision that is obviously in the best interest of a child is not the way to go about parenting that child.

"The other parent works all the time (like I do), or travels a lot, and isn’t home much so the kid spends most of the 50% time with third parties instead of a parent. That parent is not unfit, just unavailable;"

By that logic, most fathers, as the primary financial contributors to a household, are unavailable. Unavailable for school meetings, diaper changing, feeding, and other basic parenting jobs. In the fifth point, though, this would equate a parent to being unfit.

Ms. Sadowski obviously has some pent up baggage and might benefit from seeing a counselor. She has some pent up anger against her baby's father, whether justified or unjustified, and needs to resolve that before she tries to influence others on the well-being of a child. I shutter to think of the life that her children will have because of her poor choices.

What I have not seen mentioned here are any statistics on the well-being of children in single-mother households versus single-father households versus shared-parenting households. There have been numerous studies published that show that children are less likely to engage in risky behavior, do poorly in school, do poorly socially, have health problems such as depression and anxiety, and become single parents when they only have one parent, usually the mother. Boys especially fare better when a father is present. One need only look at the current status of young to middle-aged men in this country and realize that the current system is not working. While things will only worsen as the youngest generations grow up, this bill, if passed, is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, as the contributions of men to our children is recognized, we will begin to see more legislation and policy change in regards to child custody, education, and youth development.


I have read the posts on this page and I am saddened that so many people are not able to raise their children they way they would like to. Parenting is and always has been a joint venture (it usually takes two people to have a child, remember?), but one must also remember that there are instances where joint custody is simply not appropriate. Joint custody will never be a fair outcome of a domestic violence case. The imbalance of power inherent in domestic violence cases is simply not conducive to joint parenting time. In order for two parents to raise a child together, they must be able to communicate and have mutual respect and trust for one another. This simply doesn't exist in a domestic violence situation. These fundamentals of parenting have been eroded by past violence. HB 5267 was a good start, but there needs to be a clear and concise definition of an unfit parent. You see, my ex-husband, after having been convicted four times of domestic violence and having been investigated (and CPS referred the case to the prosecutor) for child abuse twice, has never been deemed an unfit parent. Simply stating that unfit parents won't get custody does not actually help. Most unfit parents are never actually deemed as unfit.

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