Debate Continues On Parental “Equal Time” Bill

Legislation meant to give divorced fathers equal time with their children will spend another week in a Tennessee House subcommittee before being brought to a vote.

The bill is being pursued mostly by fathers as a fairness issue. But a family court judge told lawmakers that dramatic changes have already been made in state divorce law. Don Ash serves as a Circuit Court Judge in Wilson County.

“Almost 95 percent of all the divorces in our state are settled between the parents. Isn’t that who should settling it? It shouldn’t be me, it shouldn’t be you. It should be the parents, the ones who know their children the best.”

Memphis Democrat G.A. Hardaway says the bill to make equal parenting the default position is a matter of rights.

“And this isn’t about using our children as experiments. I think this is about ensuring that the constitutional rights that children have are respected, the constitutional rights that parents have are respected.”

The full Children and Family Affairs Committee will eventually take up the bill if it clears a subcommittee. The bill has bipartisan support, but so far the sponsors are all male.

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The bill is HB 2916 Bell/Sb 2881 Bunch.

It has been the main topic of debate in the House Family Justice Subcommittee for two weeks. Last Tuesday the backers of the bills, largely representing fathers, made their case.

Here’s our previous story on the bill:
Bill Could Give Divorced Parents Equal Time with Children

This is the summary of the bill by the legislative staff.

Leila Tsybulina contributed to this report.

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