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MCADSV Opposes 50/50 Shared Parenting Legislation

Lawmakers who are voting for bills that set a presumption for 50/50 shared parenting time in all custody cases are not looking with 20/20 vision at the negative impact on victims of domestic violence and their children. MCADSV opposes these bills; HCS House Bill 1667, House Bill 2591 and SCS Senate Bill 645 (substitute not available online). Abusers will use the presumption for shared parenting to continue to harass and abuse their former partners. This is not in the best interest of children. 

Children want positive relationships and engagement with parents, not necessarily equal, shared parenting time – especially if one of their parents is abusive. A victim cannot successfully co-parent with an abuser because it is unsafe to challenge them and compromise is impossible when there is fear and intimidation. The fundamental problem, too often missed by courts, is that abusers are willing to see their children harmed in order to control or punish their ex-partner for ending the relationship.

MCADSV hears stories from hundreds of advocates and domestic violence survivors from across Missouri recounting years spent in the court system trying to regain custody from their abusive, former partners. Courts often mistakenly label contested child custody cases as “high conflict” rather than what they are – domestic violence. Current law is not sufficient to address the complexity of domestic violence child custody cases.

Missourians need custody and visitation laws that provide ongoing protection for abused parents and their children.

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