North Dakota Defeats Parental Rights Ballot Initiative Measure

On November 4, North Dakota voters rejected Initiated Statutory Measure 6, which aimed to create a legal presumption that unless one parent is deemed unfit, both parents are granted equal parental rights and responsibilities, primary residential responsibility and decision-making responsibility of a child.

This measure was defeated by 62% of voters, which was a greater margin than when a similar measure was on the ballot in 2006 (56%).

Proponents of this measure argued that current law favors the mothers in custody cases, which unfairly removes the fathers from the children’s lives.

However, opponents argued that the measure deterred from what should be the primary focus during a custody dispute.

“Currently, the focus is on the children in North Dakota,”  attorney Erica Shivley told KFYR-TV. “We need to look at what’s best for them, not for the parents.”