There is no question that our family law statutes need to be reformed and that there is a great deal of "judicial discretion" in family law matters. Often times, the outcome of your case depends more on the judge that you have been assigned than the facts of your particular case. If you were to have your case in front of one judge, the outcome may be very different if you were to have your case in front of a different judge. The legislature is trying to change that, in particular when it comes to time-sharing with children. There are changes to alimony as well that I will address in a later blog, but I wanted my readers to be aware of the changes that are being proposed for time-sharing because it is substantial. If the Bill passes, there will now be a presumption that equal (50/50) time-sharing is in a child's best interest, with very limited exceptions. The exceptions would be in the nature of real harm to a child that a parent is incarcerated, a parent is unfit, or the parent's geographical distance would hinder the ability for a 50/50 time-sharing schedule to work. If this passes and is signed into law, most families would be automatically forced into a 50/50 timesharing arrangement if one party were to want that. I have had plenty of cases in the past and some cases right now where one parent does not want an equal time-sharing schedule for a variety of different reasons. Some reasons are valid; some reasons are not valid enough to take the issue before the Court. With this new law, if it is passed, every family will be forced into a 50/50 schedule provided that one parent is requesting it. We do a lot of 50/50 time-sharing arrangements and have had a Judge rule many times that 50/50 is what a couple is going to have, but there are many families who want to alter or adjust this schedule after the final hearing because the schedule is simply not working. Absent a substantial and permanent change of circumstances, couples are going to be stuck with these schedules, regardless of whether or not it’s "working". I agree with the idea that if we have a presumption that 50/50 is in the children's best interest, there will be less room for argument and people would have to acquiesce on this issue. Taking any argument off the table that 50/50 is not good because a parent simply doesn't want it will help insure that less litigation ensues over "best interest of the children". However, what I don't agree with is that we should take the approach of "one size fits all" when it comes to dealing with children. It'll be interesting to see how this develops and if you have issue with this potential law, I urge you to contact your representative.