Proposed bill could help parents get equal custody after divorce and separation

DENVER - For the last four years, Gilbert Tso has been fighting to prove he is a fit parent after he and his wife divorced and he began seeking custody of their daughter, but the battle over how much time each parent should get wasn’t cheap.

"We basically spent a tremendous amount of families' assets on lawyers and psychologists,” said Tso.

He was eventually granted 50 percent custody, but said the process shouldn’t have taken that long or even required a fight in court.

"Having gone through it, I wouldn't wish it for anybody,” said Tso. 

Tso, along with the National Parent Organization, is trying to pass a bill that would encourage Colorado courts to push for shared parenting after divorce, and treat equal custody as every parent's fundamental right. Numbers released by the National Parents Organization show that shared parenting is ordered by courts 20 percent of the time

But family law attorney Laura Shapiro said the bill could do more harm than good.

She added parents' fundamental rights have been part of the court's decision since 1972 and any further involvement through the bill would restrict the courts and hurt the child's best interest. 

“I think kids are happier when both parents are healthy and actively involved in their lives. Does that mean it has to be equal sometimes? Yes and sometimes no," Shapiro said.

House Bill 16-1110 will be heard by two house committees at the state capitol on Monday at 1:30 pm in room 127.

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