February 7, 2016 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
NPO’s contact person in Missouri, Linda Reutzel, brings us up to date on the progress of our two companion shared parenting bills in the state House and Senate. Here’s the House Bill. She’s cautiously optimistic about their chances for passage. Here’s her message to me followed by her update.
The Missouri legislature has two new companion Shared Parenting Bills this 2016 session. The house bill, HB 2055, is sponsored by Representative Kathryn Swan and the Senate bill, SB 964, is sponsored by Senator Wayne Wallingford. Both use the same language to make clear, that children of divorce or separation, want and need equal access to both FIT and WILLING parents; the bills make it clear that equal access to both FIT and WILLING parents IS in the best interest of children. This language change is a small one to our Statutes, but a very important one in the lives of our children. Research and common sense show that children want and need equal access to both parents and their extended families. It’s in their DNA!
We are hoping these 2016 bills do not have the same fate as last year’s bills. The 2015 Shared Parenting bills were opposed by the Missouri Bar Association. We addressed their concerns but the bills did not move out of committee.
A spokesman for the Bar informed the sponsor last year, that the Legislative Review Committee for the Missouri Bar Association would bring the issue before the membership at their annual conference last summer. They then would help with the draft language for next session. We asked the Bar to keep these things in mind. Parenting your child should not depend on:
- How wealthy you are
- Which judge you have
- Which county you live in
- Unproven allegations
- Your lawyer’s talents
Well, here it is 2016, and no one has heard from the MO Bar, even though the sponsor has inquired several times.
So Representative Swan and a very knowledgeable legislative researcher, plus a few citizen activists crafted our own language. We are happy with the changes. And since the Missouri Bar was too busy to help, we hope no opposition will come forward. Children have an intrinsic right to two fit parents, so Shared Parenting IS in the best interest of children. Family Court reform has always been a CHILD issue. Children of Missouri cannot wait any longer. Children are not divorcing either parent, they love their extended families and they do not want to be used as pawns in this money making divorce industry.
Here’s Reutzel’s update:
[W]e have spoken to the floor leaders of the house and the senate. Both said if they get the bills, they would get it to the floor. We also spoke to the Speaker of the House, and he was supportive of it also. Neither one has been referred to committees yet but we have every assurance that they will. So our work will be with the committee members. We made a presentation to the Missouri Black Caucus last year and the Chair is very much in favor of the changes in these bills.
As usual, NPO is backing these efforts at passing shared parenting legislation. I’ll keep you posted on developments in Missouri.
National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization
National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved? Here’s how:
Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.
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