Wouldn't it be great here in Michigan if the Friend of the Court (FOC) were to make joint legal custody and equal parenting time the presumed starting point going into custody cases.

I, as one who unfortunately had to go through the FOC father meat grinder would say a resounding YES.

Well State Representative Jim Runestad, R-White Lake has heard all of us Fathers and has sponsored House Bill 4691 which intends to do exactly that.

The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee, which State Representative Runestad chairs, 6-3-1 with Democrats opposing it. Why would the Democrats not believe that fathers should be treated equally?

Why should we continue the current process with Michigan’s FOC that presumes custody starts with the Mother and you must prove that the Father deserve more? How the Democrats on the committee does not believe in fairness I do not know.

I would assume that people in Michigan’s FOC would say that they are fair and give both the mother and father equal footing. If they do say that then how do they explain the most recent data available from 2013, when the Supreme Court Administrative Office obtained it from the then-Michigan Department of Community Health:

• 2013, 7% of divorce cases saw fathers awarded full custody.
• In 51% of divorce cases, mothers were awarded full custody.
• In 40% of cases the parents were awarded joint custody,
• and in 3% of cases children were in "other" custody.

I think those stat’s explain why House Bill 4691 is needed and refute the claims that our current Michigan Friend of the Court is no friend of fathers.

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