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Child Custody Case Raises Issue of Father’s Rights

By Sheryl Rentz on May 27, 2009

An interesting case in Bradley County, Tennessee is dealing with child custody procedures used by judges in that county. However, these child custody issues are global and could apply in any state including Pennsylvania. According to this news report, the arguments in this case allege that basic child custody procedures used by judges are unconstitutionally biased in favor of one parent, usually the child’s mother. Many family law attorneys believe that the outcome of this case can affect child custody decisions nationwide because it calls down the authority of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause to help fathers who are good parents.

The case in Tennessee has to do with court procedures used in the child custody case of 3-year-old Kate Hopkins, which began in 2007. The case is finally going to trial after more than two years in court and five different judges. One of the procedures that will be challenged in this case is the “80-day rule” created by local judges, which automatically takes effect as soon as a child custody case is filed, allowing only one parent 80 days a year with the child while the other parent is allowed 285 days a year – irrespective of the facts or circumstances of the case. Attorneys are arguing that this rule discriminates against one parent while violating the principle of equal protection and due process because it is done arbitrarily and imposed without a hearing.

We will be watching this case with interest because it could have implications nationwide. According to the Web site Children’, child custody disputes leave nearly 38 percent of dads with no access or visitation rights to their children. Also, four in 10 moms report that they interfered with the father’s visitation to punish him at least once. Half the mothers see “no value” in the father’s continued contact with his children and 70 percent of fathers want more time with their children.

Whether you are a mom or dad, if you are involved in a tough child custody battle in Pennsylvania or any other state, you need a skilled child custody lawyer on your side fighting for your rights and the safety and well-being of your children. If you need help with your situation, please call PA child custody lawyer Sheryl R. Rentz for a free consultation.

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Posted in: Child Custody

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