A judge says he will issue a ruling in a case involving Walsh County's
equal custody parenting initiative.
Judge John McClintock, Jr. heard arguments Thursday afternoon in
Northeast District Court in Grafton.
The State of North Dakota has requested to intervene in the case.
Assistant Attorney General Doug Bahr argued home rule counties like
Walsh County cannot regulate any industry regulated by the state, like
domestic relations. Bahr further argued home rule counties lack the authority
to determine a different standard than the state regarding child custody. That
standard the state establishes is the best interest of the child. Bahr argued
the leader of Walsh County's successful shared-parenting initiative,
Mitchell Sanderson of Park River, wants to create a separate law and that
Sanderson argued the shared-parenting initiative does not change
state law. He argued equal custody of children in a divorce is beneficial to
the child or children and courts should not eliminate it. He argued a county
can supercede state law within a particular county.
Bahr argued the State of North Dakota is requesting to be a party
in Sanderson's child custody case if this issue of counties establishing
shared custody winds up in the State Supreme Court.
McClintock said he'll take the arguments under advisement and
Walsh County voters passed an equal custody law for parents in a
divorce if bo