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Custody bill calls for even split between mothers and fathers

A custody bill in Florida says that the split between mothers and fathers should be 50/50, or as close to it as possible. The man behind it, State Senator Tom Lee, says that the bill promotes a 21st century viewpoint in acknowledging that both parents are equally able to take care of the children.

Some opponents, however, say that the courts already favor men, even though the stereotype has always been that they favor women. Instead, these opponents claim that well-off men have an advantage.

One judge was strongly against the bill, saying that mandating a 50/50 split would make it so that judges could not really look at the child's best interests. That has always been the focus of the courts, but this bill could make it so a judge had to give 50/50 custody, even if it seemed clear that the child would be best off with a more uneven split.

Additionally, the judge said that the courts are already trying to find ways for joint custody to be used, as that's often what is best for children. However, they do have flexibility in finding a solution that the bill would not offer.

The bill would leave a way out that judges could use, in that proof would need to be provided that something other than a 50/50 split would be best. Though this sounds fair, opponents have said that it can be costly to gather proof, so those with a higher income would still have an advantage.

This is still just a proposed bill, and not a law, but Florida residents should keep an eye on it in case it passes into law.

Source: Sun-Sentinel, "Custody bill would increase toll on mothers, put kids at risk," Gina Presson, Jan. 29, 2016

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