Shat  terd

Men 

The hidden half of domestic violence

How to have eternal life


Another blow to marriage
http://63.147.64.127/Stories/0,1002,148%7E48686,00.html
By Al Knight
aknight@chaffee.net
Denver Post Columnist
 Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - Acting without appropriate fanfare, the
Colorado Legislature has made the option of marriage and child-rearing in
this state much less attractive.
The statutory changes enacted this year don't deal directly with marriage
but rather with divorce, and as everyone knows by now, about half of all
marriages end in divorce. Thus, the changes may affect half of those who
wed and choose to have children.
Specifically, lawmakers approved changes that make it easier for a primary
residential parent involved in contentious post-divorce custody issues to
move out of state, sacrificing the relationship the child has with the
other parent.
What the legislature did was take a poorly reasoned 1996 Colorado Supreme
Court decision and make it worse, reversing prior court precedent and
practice, which in Colorado and elsewhere presumed that both parents were
entitled to unrestricted parenting time (previously called "visitation").
Senate Bill 29, sponsored by Sen. Ken Gordon, a Denver Democrat, will
encourage some primary residential parents to avoid court-ordered custody
and parenting-time arrangements. The new law, to be effective in
September, authorizes the party with whom the child resides a majority of
the time" to merely notify the other parent of the decision to relocate in
a way that substantially changes the geographical ties between the child
and the other party."
Once this is done, the prior presumption in the law that protects a
parent's rights to parenting goes out the window and may not be considered
by the court. Gone, too, is the prior policy that required the residential
parent to persuade a judge that removing a child from the state and from
the other parent was in that child's best interest. Now, it will be up to
the opposing parent to bring the action and to demonstrate that the move
should not take place - a subtle but important shifting of the burden.
The 1996 Colorado Supreme Court decision, written by Justice Rebecca
Kourlis, changed the precedents. Although historically most states
discouraged removal of the children," Kourlis wrote, "a growing number of
states now presume that the custodial parent's decision to move the child
is affirmatively in the best interests of the child."
The fact is that many states, including Colorado, had written the opposite
presumption into the law: namely, that the removal of the child to another
state would not normally be in the child's best interest in that it would
diminish or obliterate the relationship the child had with the other parent.
Kourlis and the other members of the court were clearly not much concerned
about the other party" in most cases. She quotes a New Jersey case: A
noncustodial parent is perfectly free to remove himself" - note the gender
assumed by the court - "from this jurisdiction despite the continued
residency of his children in order to seek opportunities for a better or
different lifestyle for himself."
Both Kourlis and the New Jersey court are correct, of course, but the
observation is irrelevant. In the cases affected by the Kourlis decision
and by the Colorado law, the men aren't moving away from their children -
they are objecting to the fact that their children are being moved away
from them. Big difference.
The Kourlis decision irritated a number of judges who felt it limited
their usual discretion. Some had been issuing automatic orders at the time
a divorce was granted that prohibited a child's removal from the state
without court approval. The legislature could have left well enough alone
or acted to directly correct the defects in the Kourlis decision.
Instead, lawmakers have virtually invited the residential parent to simply
relocate and thus remove herself - note the pronoun - from any friction
she may be experiencing. The new law is yet more proof that when someone
mentions the best interests of the child," it is code for the best
interests of the mother."
After all, is it ever in the best interests of a child to terminate a
meaningful relationship with a caring parent?
Al Knight (aknight@chaffee.net) is a member of The Denver Post
editorial board.
Denver Post Home:  http://www.denverpost.com/
All contents Copyright 2001 The Denver Post or other copyright holders.

 

FROM ACFC

CrossDaily.com

(please click above to vote for this site)

JUNE is Domestic Violence Against Men Awareness Month

Contact us

Interactive Groups

 Home

Ken's Page

Jerusalem Daily/Shattered Men

 Read  Guest Book  Sign

Shattered Men Group