The Short of It
A proposed law in Missouri would allow children of divorce to get more equal time with both of their parents.
In most divorce cases, even when both mom and dad are deserving, courts award full physical custody of kids to the mother. A new proposal being considered in the Missouri House and Senate seeks to recognize the importance of a child's relationship with both parents and split the time more evenly between them.
"The one thing that's in common is what the children need, and generally speaking, they are hard wired; children are just hard wired to need both biological parents," Andrea Bishop, executive director of the Betty and Bobby Allison Ozarks Counseling Center, told local news station KY3. "There are some exceptions when the parent has really just lost the privilege of being a parent."
But Bishop adds, "In many cases, a completely absent parent is more harmful to a child than the presence of a less than perfect parent, because it's that imaginary family that they are harmed by in the long run."
Supporters argue a child seeing their dad every other weekend simply isn't enough.
"It's too long; 7 days without seeing mom, 7 days without seeing dad is too long, from a child developmental standpoint, especially for very little ones," Bishop says.
If the legislation passes, each parent will have custody on alternating weeks, but parents can also propose a plan that works better for their family.
If possible, it seems parents should be able to make civil decisions about custody that are in the best interest of their child. But in situations where a court is needed to mandate the amount of time a child spends with each parent, this seems like a good move toward fostering those vital relationships. Maybe if it works out for Missouri, other states will follow its lead.