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Measure 6: Shared Parenting Bliss or More Conflict and Courts

PHOTO: The battle over North Dakota's Measure 6 is proving as bitter as any divorce, with very different views on just how a shared parenting requirement would impact kids when their parents call it quits. Photo credit: Siti Fatimah/Flickr.
PHOTO: The battle over North Dakota's Measure 6 is proving as bitter as any divorce, with very different views on just how a shared parenting requirement would impact kids when their parents call it quits. Photo credit: Siti Fatimah/Flickr.
October 30, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. - A question on shared parenting in cases of divorce will face North Dakota voters with Measure 6 next week. Supporters point to equality for mom and dad, while opponents predict it'll mean more family conflict and more litigation.

Measure 6 would create a legal presumption that each parent is fit and entitled to equal rights and custody, and among those who will be voting "no" is family law attorney Alisha Ankers. She says Measure 6 puts the desires of parents ahead of what's in the best interest of the child, as currently determined by the courts with 13 factors including a child's preference, a parent's ability to provide and domestic violence.

"What this presumption does is, it says you are going to be presumed to have 50-50 custody of your child unless you've been determined to be unfit, but it doesn't define what fitness is, which is going to create a lot or problems from a legal standpoint," says Ankers.

The group leading the campaign for passage is North Dakota Shared Parenting for Kids. Mitchell Sanderson is the organization's spokesman.

"What we're trying to do is put the proper platform down when you go into a divorce/custody issue," says Sanderson. "That is you start with 50-50 and work it out from there."

Polling from earlier this month showed more people in favor of Measure 6 than against, but around one-in-four was still undecided.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND