By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On March 8, 2017, the Alabama Family Rights Association (ALFRA) held the first Family Law Reform Educational Day and Rally in front of the Alabama Statehouse. The group is urging that the legislature pass the Children’s Equal Access Act, Senate Bill 186. SB186 is sponsored by State Senator Larry Stutts (R-Sheffield).
SB186 would make joint custody the recommended norm in Alabama child custody cases when both parents are deemed fit by the courts.
ALFRA said in a statement that SB186, “Creates an equal starting point, in all child custody cases, for children and their parents. Thus, equally protecting a child’s relationship with both [fit] parents and reduces placing our children at risk for suicide, juvenile incarceration, drug use, sex trafficking and teen pregnancy.”
ALFRA State President and US Army Retired First Sergeant Kenneth Paschal said, “On behalf of the Alabama Family Rights Association Planning Committee we would like to thank the individuals and sponsors for volunteering, donating, and contributing to the “Family Law Reform Educational Day and Rally.” A long but successful day.”
ALFRA said that in their release: “The rally was a great success and was made possible by the Isaak Law Firm, Burdick Law Firm, volunteers and dedicated supporters. The day started off with a “meet and greet” with Legislators and then a rally on the State House steps. It was our pleasure to have guest speakers including House Representative, Jim Patterson and Attorney, Melissa Isaak.”
The group is opposing Senate Bill 191 and House Bill 239 because they do not remedy or change the current systemic problem and “do not serve the diverse families of today.” The two bills were proposed by the Alabama Law Institute (ALI).
ALFRA said that it is, “Imperative that we educate ourselves and empower our lawmakers with evidence based literature that shows Senate Bill 186, will strengthen families and our weakened society. The two proposed bills by ALI recklessly place children at further risk of being separated from one of their fit parents without any legal reasoning or compelling State interest. Years of complaints from both parents, children of divorce and a survey conducted by the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts indicate there is a need for Alabama legislature to implement measures to protect children and families from biased court rulings.”
SB186 is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee where it is awaiting action.