22 May FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – SB266
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Alabama Family Rights Association (ALFRA) and Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV) Team Up to Protect Children from Being Placed at Risk.
The Children’s Equal Access Act (SB266) aims to modify child custody law that hasn’t changed in 22 years and is intended to maximize a child’s time with both parents to prevent children from being placed at risk. The bill passed the Senate (25 – 4) on May 2nd and moves to the House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee for a vote on Wednesday, May 22nd.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – In an effort to ensure minor children are not placed at risk, the ALFRA and ACADV join forces to support of SB266 by making the bill strong, in favor of children’s access and ensure that parents eligible for time are in fact deemed fit parents without domestic violence of record.
The “Children’s Equal Access Act” creates uniform guidelines for approximately 40,000 children each year when their parents’ divorce or separate. It also includes clarifying language that “there shall be a rebuttable presumption” in favor of shared parenting for responsible parents. This same language was introduced in a previous child custody bill written by the Family Law section of the Alabama State Bar and supported by members of the Alabama Law Institute. Kentucky also passed similar legislation last year creating a rebuttable presumption that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child with a clause to provide protection to victims of abuse.
This partnership is a strong strategic fit, leveraging the two organizations’ respective efforts to break the cycle of children being placed at risk because everyone deserves a healthy and safe relationship, especially children:
- Please note, that SB266 does not reference 50/50 custody or mandates courts to order 50/50 custody in any case. The Children’s Equal Access Act simply creates an equitable starting point with guidelines to follow similar to existing child support guidelines.
- The act supports a belief that children should be allowed to freely love and spend time with both of their parents, in a healthy and loving environment;
- SB266 references domestic violence on page 5 lines 8 – 9 and page 6 lines 15-16 and reiterates the importance of the application of existing law and guidelines to protect victims of abuse.
- ALFRA and ACADV support amending SB266 to clarify the intent of this legislation. On page 6, after line 16, insert the following language and renumber accordingly: “A finding by the court that domestic violence and abuse, as defined in Alabama Code – Section 30-3-133 — Determination raises a rebuttable presumption that the child or children reside with the parent who is not the perpetrator.
- Statistic results confirmed by Alabama DHR reveal that children lacking meaningful contact with one of their parents are more likely to be burdened by increased youth crime, school dropout rates, drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancies, teen incarceration, and bullying.
The Alabama Family Rights Association (ALFRA) is an organization that drives charitable, scientific, and educational initiatives. ALFRA’s primary goal is to educate the public and government officials concerning the importance of equal involvement of both fit parents in a child’s life.
The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV) is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. The mission of ACADV is to create opportunities for freedom from domestic violence through advocacy, education and the promotion of social intolerance of abuse. ACADV provides training, technical assistance, public policy and development, and support to domestic violence center programs.
ACADV can be credited with and thanked for the direction and the leadership to change, to strengthen and to clarify the purpose of this bill. SB266 is more than changing a law, it’s about changing the lives of our children. Break the cycle, support SB266.
Contact: Kenneth Paschal, President, ALFRA
Phone: (205) 626-9458