Monday, February 20, 2006

Proposed initiative would revamp child custody laws - North Dakota

Proposed initiative would revamp child custody laws


BISMARCK - A proposed ballot measure would revamp North Dakota's laws on child custody in favor of having parents share joint physical custody of their children.

The measure, which was submitted to
Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Friday for review, would also limit child support payments to "the actual cost of providing for the basic needs" of a child.

The measure would establish joint physical custody of children in most divorces, which is defined as having the children spend equal time with both parents. A joint physical custody arrangement would prevail unless one of the parents was judged unfit, the measure says.

Jaeger reviews ballot initiatives to ensure they are in proper legal form, and writes a short description of what the measure does. He must provide the measure's ballot title by March 1.

To place the measure on the November ballot, supporters must gather signatures from at least 12,844 eligible North Dakota voters by Aug. 8.

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