(KCPW News) A bill that would essentially give fathers a greater chance of achieving custody of their children in a divorce passed out of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday. Republican Representative Ryan Wilcox, the bill’s sponsor, says it’s time custody battles are decided by what’s in the best interest of the child.
“When that decision is based on something such as gender, which is far too often the case in our state, or frankly any of the other inclusions that we are including with the bill, we are doing a disservice not only to the children of that family but to society as a whole,” he said.
The bill says that in a custody dispute, the courts cannot discriminate against a parent because of gender, age, race, religious preference, color or national origin.
Julie Anderson’s granddaughter died in a car accident in February of last year when the girl’s mother suffered a drug-induced blackout while behind the wheel. Anderson says the accident came after the mother was given custody of the child over her son, despite obvious concerns about her capability of caring for her daughter.
“Many questions crossed my mind. Where was the mother going to get the money to take care of her and to live on? What about the drug reports showing medication in her system that she did not have a prescription for? What about the criminal history and eyewitness accounts of her drug abuse and constant highs when caring for our granddaughter?”
Wilcox went on to say that Utah’s current custody law is built on inherent, unspoken bias. House Bill 88 passed unanimously out of committee and now goes to the House floor for consideration.
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