CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Missouri fathers could get greater consideration when it comes to custody rights after a divorce or break-up, thanks to a bill being debated in Jefferson City.
The bill is being pushed to even the playing field between both parents, but Cape Girardeau dad, Mike Seabaugh, who said custody battles leave fathers like him at a disadvantage
"I was naive to the situation until I was in it myself; and I feel that's the way that a lot of fathers are," Seabaugh said.
Seabaugh is the father of two daughters. He said after paying more than $30,000 to fight for joint custody, his lawyer had this shocking news.
"When I initially went to visit my attorney to see my attorney and tell him I wanted 50/50 custody to see my children," he said. "He told me at that time that probably was not going to happen."
For that reason, Missouri lawmakers are debating legislation right now that would support shared parenting.
More than a dozen fathers and children gave their testimony in support of the change, including Mike's daughter Paige.
"Not everything I went through all the kids go through," Paige Seabaugh said. "But how it affected me, it affects most kids that go though it. So, I gave them that perspective as the kid because we're the ones that are affected the most."
Family Counselor Bob Dale works with families like the Seabaughs and believes custody battles have been an issued for too long.
"It's way overdue," he said. "Missouri along with most other states has been motherhood down the line, it's generally not questioned."
Dale said if this legislation passes, it could make the process easier on both the parents and the children.
"Now lets make sure it works," he said "By making sure we're dealing with mature, level headed parents who can work the program."
Seabaugh agrees and said if the legislation passes, it may not affect him, but it will help other fathers.
"We all know it may be too late to help us in the situation that we were in," Seabaugh said. "But we want to help down the road to make sure it doesn't happen to somebody else down the road."
Seabaugh also said the majority of Missouri lawmakers were in favor of the legislation. It has a few more steps before it can be voted on.