Lawmaker pushing joint custody bill

Published: Sep. 27, 2017 at 5:09 PM EDT
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A Michigan lawmaker wants to make big changes to the state's child custody laws.

A bill from Rep Jim Runestad would change how much time children get to spend with their parents after a divorce.

The bill would require the court system to grant joint legal custody and equal parenting time. That means no parent would get more than 200 overnight visits per year, unless both sides agree to it. Rep. Runestad says the current system is outdated and can be devastating for children.

"Today, there is a 47 year old antiquated bill, the Child Custody Act, the world has changed radically since that", says Runestad. "It divides one parent from the children in the vast majority of cases in a divorce. It's absolutely catastrophic to children."

Critics argue the legislation would shift the focus from the child's best interest to the parent's best interest.

The bill has passed through the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Runestad says he is now working to earn support from other lawmakers.