A bill passed by a House committee would order judges to give joint custody of kids more often. Ken Richards told lawmakers he got a raw deal when he fought his ex-wife for custody of their three daughters.He says the only way a guy gets custody is if a woman’s jobless, has a drug problem or a criminal record. Republican Representative Dan Boddicker of Tipton says too often courts limit one parent to weekends and holidays, leaving a child lacking a parental bond.That may work for older kids, he says, but a young one drifts away from the non-custodial parent. Boddicker’s pushing a bill that would force a judge to award joint physical custody if either divorcing parent requests it, unless the other spouse can prove it’s not in the kids’ best interest.He says it would change the way custody arrangements are made. Democrat Representative Pam Jochum of Dubuque says judges already consider a child’s best interest when they handle divorce cases and mandating their custody decision isn’t a solution.Jochum says handing off a kid between parents who live in different houses and sometimes far from each other forces a child to change homes, schools, even friends, and Jochum says that’s a de-stabilizing way for a kid to live. The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill and sent it to the full house for debate.
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