The shared parenting issue is a familiar one for North Dakotans. Some version of the issue is in a bill before the legislature nearly every session, it seems, and it’s appeared more than once by way of initiated measure as well.
The supporters of the issue haven’t had a lot of success, but today in the House a shared parenting bill passed on a 71-21 vote.
It’s “very different from what voters rejected” back in 2014 when the issue last appeared on the statewide ballot Rep. Kim Koppelman (R-West Fargo) told the House floor.
What HB1392 does is create a “rebuttal presumption” of shared parenting, which is defined as the non-custodial parent having the child at least 35 percent of the time.
Judges can still choose to give a parent even less than 35 percent – all the way down to zero percent – based on the facts in a given case, but if they do so they have to explain why.
The bill is also not retroactive, which means there will be no land rush back to the courts to re-adjudicate every custody case in the state. Those who have a custody plan in place can still get reviewed under this new law but only using the existing guidelines which require there be at least two years from the last custody settlement or some evidence of a change of status (like a parent moved or something).
It will be interesting to see how far this goes in the Senate.
The bill passed on a 71-21 vote. Here’s the video: