International Policy Center Home Page

Supporting Father Involvement in Michigan

January 2022 - April 2022

Executive Summary

The Michigan Action Plan for Fatherhood Involvement was created to explore ways of expanding support for the involvement of fathers in parenting/custody arrangements and to guide the establishment of permanent structures for improving policies and programs that benefit fathers and their families. The project sought to understand 50/50 shared parenting legislation on the state level and ways the organization could advocate and support such initiatives. During the project, the student researcher considered questions such as: how do states define 50/50 shared parenting, are these pieces of legislation truly 50/50, and what are the conditions for passing legislation? To answer these questions, the student conducted a comparative analysis of various states that have passed shared parenting bills, or are currently in the process of passing legislation. The research identified Missouri, Kentucky, Minnesota, Illinois, Arizona, and West Virginia as states that recently introduced or passed parenting legislation. The student came to a number of conclusions, such as: 

  • Republican-led legislatures had the most success by establishing a child's best interest and having both parents involved in the child's life. 
  • Successful legislation provides discretion to judges to deviate from an even split, potentially eliminating or reducing burden of proof to show why a parent can't be a good parent. 
  • Policy advocates should be aware of opposing views such as placing parents above the well-being of children while using children as collateral in conflicts between parents.

Community Partner

Michigan Action Plan for Fatherhood Involvement