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Rep. West announces bill to establish equal shared parenting for children of separated parents

June 22, 2021
Thomas West News

COLUMBUS- State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Rep. Rodney Creech (R-West Alexandria) today held a press conference to announce new legislation establishing a presumption that equal shared parenting is in the best interest of a child, unless a court determines that such an arrangement would be detrimental to the child. The presumption would apply in instances of legal separation, divorce, dissolution, or annulment of parents’ marriages. 

“Equal shared parenting is so incredibly important to a child’s well-being,” said Rep. West. “Our bill will ensure that this is the starting point while also offering courts the discretion to determine when equal shared parenting is clearly not in the child’s interest. At the end of the day, the goal is to promote healthy and strong relationships between children and both parents as much as possible. Rep. Creech and I believe that our legislation will help move Ohio in that direction.”

The lawmakers were joined by Don Hubin and Elizabeth McNeese from the National Parents’ Organization (NPO), which has advocated for similar legislation nationwide.

Recent research published in 2020 by Dr. William Fabricius of Arizona State University finds that “legal presumptions of equal parenting time would help protect children’s emotional security with each of their divorced parents, and consequently would have a positive effect on public health in the form of reduced long-term stress-related mental and physical health problems among children of divorce.”

Dr. Fabricius’s work helped spur the passage of Arizona’s 2013 first-of-its-kind child custody law, which established a presumption of equal parenting time.

Kentucky and Arkansas have also passed laws establishing a presumption of shared equal parenting in recent years.

Once the lawmakers have formally introduced their bill, it will be assigned to a House committee for consideration