Saturday, June 03, 2006

Glenn Sacks - Louisiana Bill Says One Parent is Better Than Two

Louisiana Bill Says One Parent is Better Than Two

Excerpts:

"Current Louisiana law states 'To the extent it is feasible and in the best interest of the child, physical custody of the children should be shared equally.' This is reasonable--it presumes that as long as both parents are fit and there are no extenuating circumstances, they should both share in parenting their children. HB 315 weakens the law's wise preference for two parents instead of one. Under the bill all that children receive is a vaguely defined 'as frequent and continuing contact as is feasible with each parent.' However, research establishes that shared custody is what's best for kids."

The counterattack against shared parenting is based on allegations that fathers only want shared parenting in order to reduce their child support obligations. We wrote:

"Unfortunately, rather than putting the need to preserve children's relationships with both parents at the center of the discussion, advocates of HB 315 are instead focusing on child support. In Louisiana, like most states, how much time each parent spends with his or her children helps determine how much child support is ordered. Rep. Shirley Bowler (R-River Ridge), who authored the bill, asserts that dads seek shared custody as a way to decrease their child support obligations. She promotes HB 315 as a way to 'remove this angle' in the current law, which she claims divorced dads are exploiting.

"While it is true that there are fathers who put their pocketbooks above their children's best interests, Bowler and the bill's supporters ignore the obvious converse. If a dad may seek 50% physical time with his children simply to lower his child support obligation, doesn't it also hold that a mother may seek 85% physical time in order to increase it?

"Similarly, critics charge that the child support provisions of current law amount to paying men to spend time with their children. In reality, the provisions simply acknowledge that both moms and dads have child-related expenses."

For more information contact Louisiana Dads.

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