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Charlotteans Push for Changes in Child Custody Laws

Many Charlotte fathers – and a few mothers – are advocating for shared parenting time after couples divorce. A local group called Kids Need 2 Parents (KN2P) held a rally at Marshall Park on June 12 in an attempt to make “shared parenting” the presumed standard in custody law.

Although the current legal standard in child custody decisions is whatever arraignment is found to be “in the child’s best interest,” the President of KN2P, Sheila Peltzer, insists that the reality of custody battles is that the mother wins custody 85% of the time. Under KN2P’s proposed plan for shared custody, each child would start out splitting his or her time 50/50 between parents.

Members of KN2P believe that the Tender Years Doctrine, a common law theory that presumed that children of a young age are better suited to live with their mothers rather than fathers, is an unspoken bias in the law that remains today. They claim that children’s right to equal access to both parents is “the civil rights fight of this century.”

The Charlotte-based grassroots organization was originally known as Kids Interest Equals Dual Support. That entity joined forces earlier this year with the Children’s Alliance to form the statewide organization KN2P. They presented a shared parenting bill to North Carolina Representative Earline Parmon (D-Winston-Salem) this year, for hopeful presentation in 2011.