State rep. holds town hall on proposed bill for joint custody - WNEM TV 5

State rep. holds town hall on proposed bill for joint custody

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SWARTZ CREEK, MI (WNEM) -

A new bill in Lansing could help give parents the chance to share custody of their children if they have been determined to be fit parents.

It is especially geared to help children get through a process that can be an emotional roller coaster.

"I wouldn't wish that on my own worst enemy. It's the hardest thing in the world to wake up everyday without your kids," said Derek Jaeger, with the National Parents Organization.

He supports the newly proposed bill that would give parents in custody cases equal time with their children. It's called the Michigan Shared Custody Act.

"It calls for a presumption of equal shared parenting be the starting point," said Linda Wright, with National Parents Organization.

The bill would allow both parents to have the same amount of time with their children - something Jaeger hasn't had for the past seven years.

"We were able to get a parenting time which the courts consider to be reasonable. And reasonable to them is the cookie cutter every other weekend, maybe a couple hours on Wednesday. And you know what that equates to," Jaeger said.

The sponsor of the bill, State Rep. Jim Runestad, said the legislation ensures children will not end up in the hands of unfit parents.

"You hear this all the time, 'what about domestic abuse or drug addicts?' None of those people are even allowed to have custody, may only have supervised visitation. So there's no presumption for an unfit parent in the bill," Runestad said.

Jaeger is fighting for the bill he said is good for parents and the kids, who many times find themselves stuck in the middle.

"When you think about the kids of the families and the generations to come, that we could save from having the experience what we have gone through. That's what I'm doing it for," Jaeger said.

The bill passed through the judiciary committee in June. It will now head to the House of Representative for a full vote.

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