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'Bill offering custody to unwed fathers has downside'
Article here. Excerpt:
'A bill to give equal custody rights to unwed fathers may be built on good intentions, but the potential for negative unintended consequences is unacceptably high. There are better ways to pursue the goal.
Prime sponsor Sen. Rick Murphy describes the bill, SB 1202, as an effort to address inequity.
“Absentee mothers can come back into the picture after years of absence, disrupt their children from a stable home with their father, and still have all the legal rights and be presumed by law to be the best custodian of the child,” Republican Murphy said by e-mail.
Ironically, that is a mirror image of the scenario envisioned by opponents of this bill. They say it will enable fathers to disrupt the lives of children, including those for whom they previously expressed no interest.
What’s more, advocates for victims of domestic violence say giving a man custody rights based solely on paternity could provide an abusive man with powerful legal leverage after a woman has fled a violent situation.'
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