Proposed Michigan Shared Custody Law Creates Presumed 50/50 Physical Custody

A new law is being proposed in Michigan that would change the Michigan Child Custody Act to a presumption of 50/50 physical custody absent evidence which demonstrates that a different custody arrangement should be used. The bill, House Bill 4691, was introduced by Republican State Representative Jim Runestad.

As an editorial in the Grand Rapids Rapidian explains, “In other words: under the proposed bill, parents would have to prove their child should NOT spend 50 percent of their time with their other parent in order for the courts to consider any other arrangement.”


Opponents of the bill say that the newly proposed legislation would put children at risk of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. To prove their point, they trotted out a single mother who explained that “By the end of my marriage he was trying to drown my daughter in the kitchen sink, in the dirty dish water…When you get into court, now what? Automatically my kids would have to go with him 50% of the time if you have this automatic parent custody.”

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Red herring much?

Representative Runestad responded, saying that “If there’s any evidence of domestic violence, the presumption portion (of bill 4691) is taken off the table and it’s back to the old style of law.”

Of course that’s how it is, but why let the facts get in the way of a good anti-father rant?

The bill, which you can read here, clearly states that the presumption is for substantially equal parenting time, unless the parents agree to a different arrangement, or one parent demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that there is a concern about abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.

Representative Runestad is holding a Town Hall meeting on Monday, August 21st in Grand Rapids. For more information on the Town Hall meeting, or to otherwise contact Rep. Runestad, go to his website here.

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