Residents in North Carolina’s 42nd District could have a shared parenting and fathers’ rights advocate as their newest state senator, if they elect Dustin Long as their representative.
As Long, who among other things, is the VP of Operations for a non-profit called simply the Fathers Rights Movement told the the Hickory Record, “I spent a lot of time in Raleigh advocating for shared parenting legislation. I helped with SB 519 in 2015, 645 this past year and Jordan’s Law this past year.”
SB519 was passed, and signed by Governor Pat McCrory, towards the end of 2015 and so is now known as Session Law 2015-278. As such, Session Law 2015-278 is now governing law in North Carolina. While not a quite a shared parenting mandate – it is officially “An Act to Promote the Encouragement of Parenting Time with Children by Both Parents” – it nonetheless is a good first step in guiding North Carolina family courts to recognize that children need a healthy relationship with both parents.
The law also explicitly states that there will be no presumption as between the two parents as to who will better promote the best interests of the children, which is directly opposite from the infamous tender years doctrine that is still entrenched implicitly, if not explicitly, in many family law courts in the U.S. The tender years doctrine presupposes that children of “tender years” (i.e young children) should be with the mother.
Full Text of North Carolina Session Law 2015-278 (formerly SB519)
An order for custody of a minor child entered pursuant to this section shall award the custody of such child to such person, agency, organization or institution as will best promote the interest and welfare of the child. In making the determination, the court shall consider all relevant factors including acts of domestic violence between the parties, the safety of the child, and the safety of either party from domestic violence by the other party. An order for custody must include written findings of fact that reflect the consideration of each of these factors and that support the determination of what is in the best interest of the child. Between the parents, whether natural or adoptive, no presumption shall apply as to who will better promote the interest and welfare of the child. Joint custody to the parents shall be considered upon the request of either parent.
In addition to working to get the above law passed, Long, a Navy veteran, also worked on SB 645 in 2017 (“An act to provide for consideration of a minimum amount of time with each parent when determining the terms of custody”), which did not pass.
Explains his website, “…it was his divorce from his first wife that led him into becoming involved in politics. After going from a full time father to being relegated to a ‘Disneyland dad’ by the court system, he began diligently working to ensure that his children don’t inherit the same destructive system that he and his family suffered through.”
We are sure that many readers have felt that pain.
You can contact Dustin Long at his website at VoteDustinLong.org