Monday, April 11, 2005

Illinois considers custody reform

Illinois is considering custody reforms:
Several state lawmakers and legal groups aim to give children more time with both parents and prod parents to work out agreements before they ever set foot in court.

“Contested divorce and child custody proceedings in this state can be torturous, heart-wrenching experiences to parents and children, that in turn create an undue burden on the community,” said Michael Burns, executive director of the Chicago think tank Dialogue on Sustainable Community.

Burns’ group is among those pushing the changes.

In Illinois, Burns said, joint legal and physical custody is granted less than 8 percent of the time. Sole custody usually is awarded to mothers, he said. ...

Under current law, when divorce cases go to court, a judge must consider the best interest of the child. Parents and their attorneys are left to argue before the court whether joint or sole custody is best.

State Rep. Richard Myers, a Macomb Republican, offers a different system. Under his plan, people would go to court under the notion that joint custody is best. Currently, there’s no presumption on what’s best; it’s up to the two sides to fight it out.

“We talk about mothers in one corner and fathers in the other,” said Michael McCormick, executive director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. “We need to recognize the value of the contribution both parents make in raising children.”

Myers’ proposal calls for each parent to have equal time with and responsibility for their children and to formulate a parenting agreement on how they will carry this out.
Who could be against such a sensible idea? From the article, it appears that the main opposition comes from the domestic violence lobby.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The link to this story is invalid. The Daily Hearld archives their stories after 7 days. I searched the archive and could not find the story.