The State of Minnesota is about to have fathers rights make a major step forward with the passing of HF 322, Children’s Equal and Shared Parenting Act. The bill will adopt the presumption of shared and equal parenting time, unless agreed otherwise by parents. Provisions of the law will be extended to unmarried parents. Oh My!
Where did the impetus that shook the status quo come from? Interestingly enough, from three women – Phyllis Stageberg, retired teacher, Reverend Mary Hovland and the founder of the Center for parental Responsibility Molly Olson, who campaigned to give equal parenting rights to fathers. Olson documented that children without absent fathers do not fare well, undermining the “best interest of the child monstrosity” predicament which still founds most state family laws.
If the law passes in the house, it will obviously entail a revision of child support laws. If parents share custody, there is indeed no reason for divorced mothers to automatically receive a certain percentage of their ex’s income as child support, irrespective of theirs. That’s where further resistance to the new law will come: from noble politicians championing mothers’ loss of the divorced rent.
In its 2011 version, the law was even dealing with false accusations of child abuse as a ground for the accuser’s parental fitness dismissal. I wonder if this cherry on the cake is still on the 2012 version…
Unlike in Canada, Australia, England, Germany, Israel or Spain, the debate on fathers rights in the US is in a state of complete torpor. Let’ s hope that the Minnesotan Children’s Equal and Shared Parenting Act change that.