Equal Parenting Bill for the State of Ohio
Representative Creech (R) and Representative West (D) have joined together to co-sponsor a bill for equal shared parenting and they asked National Parenting Organization of Ohio (NPO) to provide input and help draft that piece of legislation.
The proposed bill is currently with the Legislative Service Commission (LSC) who will finalize the bill and once it's filed with the House Clerk it will receive a bill number.
Reps Creech and West hosted a press conference announcing the upcoming bill. You can view that press conference here.
What's in the bill?
Ohio allows courts to order "shared parenting" but all that means is that there are two parents who share in some aspect of child rearing responsibility. So a parent with every other weekend visits is still considered to have "shared parenting." But there's no presumption that shared parenting is to be ordered; Ohio doesn't have any current presumptions in law regarding allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.
The proposed bill will establish a rebuttable presumption for equal shared parenting (for both decision making and parenting time) when parents’ divorce or separate. The proposed presumption establishes that it is in the best interest of children to have equal access to both parents, and that only upon clear and convincing evidence that it would be detrimental to the child, with written findings of fact and conclusions of law, a judge can deviate from the presumption. This will allow courts to protect abused children but also keep courts accountable for their rulings. The proposed bill will apply to both temporary and final orders.
What you can do:
Contact your local area representative and share your passion on why they should support the Equal Parenting Bill that Reps Creech and West are presenting.
Encourage Ohioans to sign-up on NPO webpage to get involved and receive updates on Ohio's efforts
Stay tuned in for the presentation of the Bill-- once it's been presented it will be available for public review and discourse.... and then share, share, share!