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Shared parenting initiative sponsors submit signatures

BISMARCK – Sponsors of a proposed ballot measure that would create a law providing for equal parenting rights and decision-making responsibility in child custody cases have submitted signatures for review to try to put the measure to voters in November.

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Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Monday that the sponsoring committee delivered petitions they said contained 13,521 signatures, and that additional petitions are expected to be submitted by Wednesday, the one-year deadline for circulating the petition.

At least 13,452 signatures must be verified for the initiated measure to be placed on the Nov. 4 statewide ballot. Jaeger’s office has until July 21 to complete the review process.

The measure would amend state law to create the presumption that each parent in a custody case is a fit parent and entitled to be awarded equal parental rights and responsibilities by a court “unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.” The measure also would provide a definition of equal parenting time.

North Dakota voters rejected a similar ballot measure in 2006.

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