If you would like to comment on this proposal send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Parents in dispute will submit a jointly agreed parenting plan to the court specifying how their children are to be raised including decision making authority, time sharing allocations and a method for resolving/mediating disputes outside of court. Each parent:
a. Will have 40% custody unless he or she is under indictment for or convicted of a child abuse crime that would deem him/her harmful to the child(ren). Accusations will not be used to prohibit a parent’s custody.
b. Will propose a parenting plan that includes a child exchange location that is neutral and in reasonable proximity for both parents.
c. Will propose a parenting plan that includes visitation with extended family members.
d. Will complete a state approved, in person co-parenting course developed and administered by licensed family counselors.
2. In the event parents cannot reach agreement on a parenting plan either in its entirety or particular components regarding shared residential time and responsibility there will be:
a. A rebuttable presumption that equally shared residential time is in the best interest of the child(ren).
b. The presumption may be overcome based on a preponderance of the evidence on issues not falling within the equally shared residential time exceptions.
c. The burden of overcoming the presumption rests on the party challenging the presumption.
3. Should parents submit competing parenting plans, the court shall preference the timesharing portion of the plan which provides the child the greatest amount of time with both parents.
4. Children should spend no less than 40% residential time sharing as a baseline minimum with each parent, absent any of the exceptions.
5. Consistent with these provisions, the court retains discretion to craft a parenting plan in the child’s best interest when parents cannot reach parenting plan agreement.
6. Where a substantiated finding of abuse, neglect or abandonment exists the court may craft a parenting plan consistent with code sections pertaining to such findings and consistent with the child’s best interest.
7. Should the parents not agree to a parenting plan and the court award less than 40% residential-time sharing to each parent the court will provide written finding of fact regarding deviation below 40%. Initial appeals process will be court-ordered mediation.
8. At any temporary hearing where custody and/or residential time sharing allocations are considered the court will issue temporary orders providing the children with as close to an equal time sharing allocation with each parent as is reasonable and practical, unless exceptions apply.
a. When the court issues an order holding a party in contempt of court for violation of a visitation order, the clerk shall transmit a copy of the contempt order to the sheriff of the county. The sheriff shall furnish a copy of each contempt order to the Department of State Police on a daily basis in the form and manner required by the Department. The Department shall maintain a complete record and index of the contempt orders and make this data available to all local law enforcement agencies
b. Attorney fees and costs shall be assessed against a party if the court finds that the enforcement action is vexatious and constitutes harassment.
c. If a parent has been previously found in contempt by the court and found to have engaged in visitation abuse, the court will:
(1) Incarcerate the offending parent one day for each day of denied visitation; and
(2) Require the offending party to post a $5,000 bond subject to forfeiture for the purpose of assuring compliance with future visitation.
9. The explicit intent of this legislation is to recognize that in the vast majority of cases the maintenance of a full relationship between children.
10. All parties involved in this process will complete Non-Custodial Parent training.
11. The results (statistics) from each parenting plan will be posted as public record.