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Family Law Updates Around the Nation

 

Arizona - In Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer signed SB1073 into law. This bill requires custody hearings to take place within 60 days of the date of motion filing. The bill will have a positive effect on bringing an end to the strategy of constantly delaying hearing in order to keep one parent out of their child's life.

 

Florida - Will Florida become a true Shared Parenting state? We are congratulating Florida Alimony Reform and their supporters after the state senate passed SB718 on Thursday by a vote of 29-11. The bill improves Florida's antiquated alimony law and practices.

 

Of great interest to shared parenting supporters is the provision within the bill which states; "Equal time-sharing with a minor child by both parents is in the best interest of the child unless the court finds that: ..."

 

This bill has one more vote in the full House and then it's on to the governor for signature. We can't wait to see it enacted. In 2008 Florida revised its custody statutes with the goal that the update would lead to greater shared parenting. After four years of mixed results, the legislature is coming back to finish the job.

 

Illinois - A right of first refusal bill, drafted by the sponsors of this newsletter, Illinois Fathers, passed out of committee in the house this last week and headed to the floor for a vote. This bill provides the other parent with first crack at caring for their child in the event the primary residential parent needs a child care provider. No more sending the child to a babysitter when the other parent is available to do the job. Every state should have this kind of law. ACFC believes the most under-utilized parent in America today is the "other" parent.

 

Maryland - A bill establishing a committee to study family law has passed the full House and is out of committee on the Senate side. A full Senate vote is expected shortly. Citizens in Maryland have been working to pass shared parenting legislation for years. This bill provides an opportunity for various stakeholders to come together and hammer out a statutory scheme that works for children and parents. The bill specifically indicates members of father and non-custodial parent interest groups are to have committee representation.

 

Nebraska - We expect LB22 to come out of committee within the next two weeks. This bill is modeled on the custody legislation which passed in Arizona last year. It appears many Arizona parents are receiving equal or near equal time with the kids as a result of the changes which went into effect in January.

 

There is significant opposition to LB22 coming from the 'usual suspects.' Lawyers and domestic violence groups are leading the resistance. That said there are also a number of lawyers supporting the bill stating 'on record' that it's time too fix a broken custody system.

 

Stay tuned for more updates in future newsletters.

 

Recent Press Articles on Family Law

 

On Tuesday Barbara Kay published a fantastic article on Shared Parenting in Canada's 2nd largest newspaper, the National Post. Titled "Fair Play for Dads" it gets right to the heart of the family court problem.

 

The Omaha World Herald published this article Tuesday on the effort to get shared parenting enacted.

 

And Rachel Alexander recently published this piece on one of our favorite continuing topics; how the child support system continues to lock up people for not paying support for children that aren't theirs.

 

NCFM Sues Selective Service

 

In a case of obvious gender bias the National Coalition for Men has sued the Selective Service over regulations requiring only young men aged 18 to register for the draft.

 

While this might cause some to chuckle, the biased nature of the regulations are no laughing matter. Young men who fail to register can lose access to many federal benefits, not the least of which is the ability to receive financial aid to attend college. ACFC tips the hat to NCFM once again for bringing a suit which demonstrates society's need to eliminate gender discrimination for everyone. Click here to read more.

 

Final Thoughts from ACFC Executive Director, Mike McCormick

 

As an organization ACFC is in its 17th year. As our mission statement reads:

 

"We believe when parents are given equal rights, equal responsibility follows; when parents have equal access to their children and support levels are reasonable and reflect the true cost of raising a child, parents will comply with court orders."

 

That goal is nearer than at any time in the last two decades. The proof is directly above. You are the reason progress is happening.

 

Every day we receive numerous emails and phone calls from people asking for assistance with their individual cases. While we read every email and listen to every voice mail, it's impossible to answer them all, or even a fraction of them. The most we can do at this time is provide access to general information through the website. Take advantage of what's there.

 

It takes resources to make progress. We rely on volunteers and contributions from supporters to continue. Please consider volunteering or donating, or both. With your support shared parenting will become a reality everywhere. Thank you.

 

WV Family Court Judge Suspended

 

West Virginia Judge William "Chip" Watkins III has been suspended for the remainder of his term by the state Supreme Court. Watkins has been suspended until December 31, 2016.

 

Watkins has also been ordered to reimburse the $18,000 costs associated with his investigation.

 

The court agreed Watkins disgraced the judiciary with his actions and demeanor toward litigants in his courtroom. A video posted to YouTube showing Watkins actions received over 200,000 views.

 

While ACFC recognizes most judges conduct themselves courteously and with decorum, there are more than a few Watkins out there running roughshod over parents unfortunate enough to find themselves in court.

 

Click this link for more on the Watkins story.

 

 

 

ACFC depends on people like you for financial support.

 

Please make a gift today so this valuable work can continue.

 

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DONATE

 

Checks can be mailed to ACFC at the address below.

 

Thank You

 

 

Family Law Factoid:

 

Over 4,000 kids lose a parent every day the family courts are open for business.

 

That's over one million children each year. Nearly 85% of those kids will lose the day in, day out relationship with their fathers.

 

Have you had enough of family court?

 

 

 

WE WANT YOU!!

 

ACFC needs volunteers to become actively engaged in changing the way the courts (mis)treat children and their parents. If volunteering interests you please send an email to ACFC Executive Director Mike McCormick. Please include a brief description of any particular skills you have and areas of interest.

 

 

 

 

For the past 17 years ACFC and its national network of affiliated organizations have worked to educate the public, policy makers, legislators, judges, agency and family court personnel on the importance of two parent involvement in children's lives.

 

Check for additional updates and like us on facebook at www.facebook.com/acfcorg

 

Visit the website at www.acfc.org

 

Thanks to our friends at Illinois Fathers for generously supporting ACFC's enews.

The American Coalition for Fathers and Children (ACFC)

1718 M. St. NW #1187

Washington, DC 20036

 

ACFC is America's shared parenting organization. Through a network of affiliated organizations we are changing family law. If you need assistance please click here. You will be taken to a page on our website with free resources to help you understand the current family law system. Volunteer, become engaged. The keys to changing the current system of family law are in our hands.

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