Thursday, April 27, 2006

Custody rights bill for fathers dead in Assembly -NY

Custody rights bill for fathers dead in Assembly
Supporters say bill would balance system they say favors mothers

I don't know what to say.


ALBANY -- An Assembly panel Tuesday killed for the year a proposal to give fathers greater custody rights in divorce proceedings.

By a 12-4 vote, the Assembly Children and Families Committee scuttled a contentious plan that would have made courts presume that shared parenting of children is the best arrangement for divorcing couples and their children, if there was no accusation that it would harm the children.

The bill's supporters say that courts now award custody to the mother in most cases, with fathers limited to occasional visits. They said 13 other states have adopted similar legislation to level the playing field for fathers.

But the majority of committee members were swayed by arguments that the bill would put the needs of the parents ahead of those of the children.

The committee vote means the measure won't advance to the floor to be considered by the full Assembly, effectively killing it for the year. The Senate wasn't expected to act on it until the Assembly made its decision.

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