Make your own free website on Tripod.com
HOME  
Rapid City Journal - 1/24/03
Shared-parenting measure debated

PIERRE (AP) — A tearful Mitchell mother told South Dakota legislators Friday that state law should be changed to allow estranged parents to share custody of their children equally.

Testifying in favor of SB60, Kelly Crumrine said her ex-husband got custody of their two children simply because he makes more money than she does. Dabbing wet eyes with a tissue, Crumrine said she got only two weeks' notice last year when her former spouse moved to Kansas with their kids to live with a girlfriend.
An attempt to block the move failed in court, she said.

"Noncustodial parents do not have rights when it comes to their children," Crumrine told the state Senate Judiciary Committee.

Other parents pushing for equal custody of their children said several states allow shared-custody arrangements, adding that children are much better off when they have regular contact with both parents.

Existing laws that make judges give custody to one parent generally discriminate against men because children most often wind up with their mothers, Steve Mathis, a divorced Yankton father who founded a group called South Dakota Coalition for Shared Parenting, said.

"It's a perverse system," he said. "When you pick the winner and a loser, you guarantee that children will be the losers. Children need both parents to actively share parenting."

Noncustodial parents get their children only a few days a month, and they are denied the many daily decisions that forge and foster their children's lives, Mathis said. His children may spend only four nights a month with him, even though he lives only five blocks away, Mathis said.

"Our children are being denied a fulfilling relationship with their dads and, in other cases, with their mothers," he said, giving legislators a petition with 235 signatures in favor of SB60.

If both parents are fit, they should have equally shared custody, Mathis said.

"Fathers and mothers must be treated equally unless there's a compelling reason not to do so," he said. "The rights to make decisions regarding your children are being taken away from a parent who has done absolutely nothing wrong."

No immediate action was taken on the bill. Instead, the committee scheduled a second hearing for next Wednesday.

Testifying against the bill was David Braun, legal counsel in the state Office of Child Support Enforcement. He reminded legislators that similar legislation has failed in each of the past two years.

One of those bills was vetoed by former Gov. Bill Janklow because it hampered the ability of parents to move with their children, Braun said. SB60 would do the same thing, he warned.

In response to a law enacted last year, state courts have devised child-visitation guidelines for estranged parents, and the system is working, Braun added. He also said visitation centers have been set up for families, and parents denied visits with their children may get those disputes brought before judges quickly by simply filling out some paperwork.

Prime sponsor of SB60, Sen. Clarence Kooistra, R-Garretson, said divorce is devastating to children. Allowing equal custody arrangements would be in the best interests of those children, he said.

"It takes two loving parents ... to raise a child," Kooistra said.

Argus Leader
Child-custody bill evokes emotion
The Associated Press
Wire Reports
published: 01/25/2003

PIERRE – A tearful Mitchell mother told South Dakota legislators Friday that state law should be changed to allow estranged parents to equally share cutody of their children.

Testifying in favor of SB60, Kelly Crumrine said her ex-husband got custody of their two children simply because he makes more money than she does.
Dabbing wet eyes with a facial tissue, Crumrine said she got only two weeks notice last year when her former spouse moved to Kansas with their kids to live with a girlfriend.

An attempt to block the move failed in court, she said. “Noncustodial parents do not have rights when it comes to their children,” Crumrine told the state Senate Judiciary Committee.

Other parents pushing for equal custody of their children said several states allow shared custody, adding that children are much better off when they have regular contact with both parents.

Existing laws that make judges give custody to one parent generally discriminate against men because children most often wind up with their mothers, said Steve Mathis, a divorced Yankton father who founded a group called South Dakota Coalition for Shared Parenting.

“It’s a perverse system,” he said. “When you pick the winner and a loser, you guarantee that children will be the losers. Children need both parents to actively share parenting.”

Noncustodial parents get their children only a few days a month, and they are denied the many daily decisions that forge and foster their children’s lives, Mathis said. His children may spend only four nights a month with him even though he lives just five blocks away, Mathis said.

If both parents are fit, they should have equally shared custody, Mathis said.No immediate action was taken on the bill. Instead, the committee scheduled a second hearing for next Wednesday.

Testifying against the bill was David Braun, legal counsel in the state Office of Child Support Enforcement. He reminded legislators that similar legislation has failed in each of the last two years.


This article was printed from: www.southdakotaelections.com

Copyright 2002, www.southdakotaelections.com


Back to Top