House Bill 88, which was unanimously endorsed by the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standing Committee, would add a statement to Utah's child custody laws that the court "may not discriminate against a parent due to gender, race, color, national origin, religious preference, or age, but shall consider the best interests of the child."
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Ryan Wilcox (pictured), R-Ogden, told KSL-TV in Salt Lake City that the bill's intent is to ensure courts carefully consider the circumstances of both parents in divorce and child custody cases, dispatching the antiquated notion that the mother is a better choice to be the primary parent.
Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake told KSL that she supports the legislation because "it has potential not only for changing the system but for changing hearts and minds."
Wilcox, Seelig, and other supportive lawmakers should be commended for their efforts to protect fathers rights, but many are incredulous that the child custody law needed to be changed to remind judges of issues of basic fairness.
In other Utah child custody news, a bill was proposed that would allow children age 14 and older to tell the judge which parent they would prefer to live with. This would lower the age from 16. Senate Bill 139 will be heard by a committee shortly.
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If you are fighting for child custody, contact the divorce lawyers for men at Cordell and Cordell. The Cordell & Cordell Law Firm focuses specifically on fathers rights and helping dads remain involved in their children's lives post-divorce.
Visit DadsDivorce.com for more information on child custody laws.