Note from ANCPR: The comment below by Republican Shirley Bowler, should put to rest any idea that the Republican party is any friend of parent’s rights.Â THis article pretty much illustrates what the prevailing opinion is in the western world concerning children and parents of divorce – the judge is the only one with the power to dictate time with the child.Â Once that is done, it is the power of the custodial parent.
2theadvocate.com | News | Panel debates fathersâ€™ child-custody rights
A House committee Monday narrowly approved legislation that its promoter says would remove an angle some divorced fathers use to lower child-support payments.
Rep. Shirley Bowler, R-River Ridge, said some fathers have used a misinterpretation over the meaning of â€œjoint custodyâ€ to argue that they deserve more time with their children and therefore should pay less child support.
House Bill 315 would allow judges to decide on their own whether to grant shared custody of children to divorcing parents and give the parents the ability to test shared custody arrangements for six months.
The House Civil Law Committee, on a 4-3 vote, recommended the full House consider the measure favorably.
Child-support payments are calculated using complex tables that weigh the parentsâ€™ comparative incomes as well as how much time the child lives with a particular parent.
Katherine Spaht, an LSU law professor, said existing law says judges should presume that joint custody is in the best interest of the children.
Some courts have interpreted that to mean the two parents are required to share physical time with the children, she said.
But joint custody means the divorced parents should have frequent and continuing contact.
â€œThatâ€™s it,â€ Spaht said.
Judges can decide how much time the child should spend with each parent. Bowlerâ€™s bill, for which Spaht testified, helps clarify the Legislatureâ€™s original meaning to joint custody.
Rep. Loulan Pitre, R-Raceland, testified against HB315, arguing that it would take away fathersâ€™ rights to raise their children and reinforce the prejudice against fathers in divorce proceedings.
â€œSociety tells us that mothers get to parent and fathers get to visit,â€ Pitre said. â€œThis committee is reinforcing that message.â€
Jim Shreve of Baton Rouge said Bowlerâ€™s legislation would restrict a fatherâ€™s right to help raise his children that earlier legislatures had granted.
â€œI find that to be deplorable. These laws have created a presumption of deceit. This bill wants to extend the deceit,â€ Shreve said.
Voting for HB315 was Reps Bowler, Ernie Alexander, R-Lafayette, Ronnie Johns, R-Sulphur, and Monica Walker, D-Hessmer.
Voting against the bill was Reps Robby Carter, D-Greensburg, Rick Gallot, D-Ruston, Joel Robideaux, I-Lafayette.
The bill now goes to the full House for debate.
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