Some Argue Dads Don't Get Same Custody Rights As Moms

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This Father’s Day many in the community are speaking out, saying single dads don't get the recognition they deserve.

The issue got a lot of attention in North Dakota a couple months ago when measure 6 was voted down. Those who wanted the law say the court system favors moms over dads. Opponents say the wording of the measure wasn't clear enough.

One of those people speaking out is Michelle Vanheel, she was raised by a single dad.

"Dear dad, I know I don't say it every day, but I thank you for who you are, I love you,” she says, thinking about what to write in her Father’s Day card. “You're the best dad that a person could ask for. You did it on your own, even though I was a very rebellious child, he still stood by me and what I did. And, I love him for what he's done, and still does for me."

While scrolling through pictures of a daughter and her dad, Michelle remembers her mom walking out when she was 3 years old. "Chose the alcohol over her children," she says.

Her dad, Bill fought for custody of Michelle, which she says was a long, difficult, process.

"There were many times, where he would just work, and it was just him and I, he worked for me,” says Michelle. She, like others we talked to, says the court system doesn't give dads the same chance they give moms to raise their kids.

"Me myself, I have been through a divorce, and when I went through my divorced it was automatically said to me you will get custody of the kids," says Michelle, hoping to see change for others in a situation like her father. "Mothers can do it, but fathers can do it too. Fathers are just as good as mothers," she says.

While it's still a hot topic in North Dakota, on the Minnesota side a Father's Rights Movement is drawing protesters at the capitol Friday, arguing the same issue.