Fatherless Day Rally fights for equal time with children

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JEFFERSON CITY - A Fatherless Day rally will be held today at the Missouri capitol building. 

The National Parents Organization invited Governor Jay Nixon to sign Missouri's shared parenting legislation at the annual rally. 

Nixon has not responded to the invitation yet, according to Lina Reutzel, member of the Father's Rights Movement.

The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate and the House voted in favor of the bill 154-2.   

The bill discusses issues that deal with not having equal access and time with children after a divorce. 

It would set parenting plan "guidelines so that no court in Missouri can have their own rules." Reutzel said. "Rules have to be universal and statewide so that every parent gets the same treatment in family court."

She said courts must also "enter written findings of fact and conclusions for any decision they make in family court so it makes it easier if the parties don't agree with it, they have it all in writing and they can appeal."

Reutzel's son is divorced, but has a child with his ex-wife. 

"Both of them were hands-on parents," she said. "He was definitely a hands-on father, his wife worked weekends and some nights and so he had the child by himself from birth on. He went to court thinking 'okay we're going to share custody, we're going to share parenting time' and they were up until the final court date. He went in and his lawyers said 'yes, 50/50 is working out great'. Her and her lawyer went in and said it wasn't."

The judge decided the father would be the visiting parent. 

"There's a difference between getting joint legal custody and joint physical custody and equal parenting time," she said. "He did get joint custody because he is good father, there's no reason not to, but he did not get equal parenting time. That's a big difference and we really need to make that distinction."

"Before I would always think when someone didn't get equal parenting time, I was kind of like the rest of society," she said.  "I was thinking 'well, there must be something wrong. Surely if he was a good father they would have allowed that.' Well, that's not true. There's fit fathers that are being denied access to their kids."

The rally will be held from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. outdoors and then will move to the Capitol building rotunda where families will share their stories.