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House bill would require shared custody in most cases

Children walking down a path together
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Negotiations will continue through the summer on legislation to change the rules on how child custody is determined in divorces.

State Rep. Jim Runestad’s (R-White Lake) bill would make equal custody the default position in divorces. He says, right now, judges have too much discretion and the proof of that is wide disparities between counties in how custody is granted.

“It’s a horrible, horrible system for kids and it’s got to change,” he says.

Runestad says the current system invites conflict between parents vying to win custody.

“Your ability to have custody time has nothing to do with how good a parent you are in many counties, it’s which county and which judge,” he says.

But critics, including judges and advocates for domestic violence victims, say judges need discretion to make the best arrangements for children.