According to this news report, Senator Paul Bussman intends to reintroduce legislation which mandates equal time between parents in child custody disputes

A Cullman state senator whose “shared parenting” bill drew criticism that led to its defeat in the 2011 legislative session said he will introduce similar legislation in 2012 with input from judges and attorneys. . . .

Remember this bill (here, here, here, here and here) As a sampling: the bill mandated judges to award absolute equal time of a child between parents irrespective where the parents lived no how absent a father had been during a marriage.  Another goody: it allowed a parent to deduct Christmas presents and other gifts to a child off the parent’s child support obligations. This radical piece of legislation might actually have caused more harm than the Anti-immigration legislation. This was no crank-piece of legislation either; it enjoyed the sponsorship of every Republican State Senator minus one and was actually voted out of committee.

Bussman’s bill died in the Senate, but how, and who, should make decisions about the time divorced parents spend with their children remains an issue, Bussman said. Alabama is one of a handful of states where judges generally give primary custody to one fit parent with limited visitation by the other fit parent.

Is Alabama a minority on this? I don’t think so. Every state, including Alabama, direct custody to be determined by the court’s finding of the “best interest of the child.” I challenge the Senator to cite one state wherein the courts do not award primary physical custody one parent or the other generally? As shown here, some states give a preference for joint custody unless such is not in the best interest of the child. No state mandates, as Bussman bill does,  joint custody.

“We will take out or modify the parts of the bill that caused such controversy this year,” Bussman said. “We may include some additional factors with child custody as well, including a parent’s participation in a drug court program. Drug court doesn’t show up on a person’s record, but may be a factor in custody arrangements.”

I look forward to these modifications; however, before it is worthy of passage, it need a complete rewrite.

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