Update: Father's Rights Debate Taken Up By The State Legislature

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email

We all know that divorce can be incredibly tough on kids involved; but legislation is making its way through Lincoln that would give divorced dads a lot more time with their kids.

If LB 212 passed, it would change court-created parenting plans to say that each parent deserves at least 45 percent of visitation time with their child.

State Senator Russ Karpisek says he created the bill with kids in mind. "If we take that piece out, to where I think they already know that they'll get maybe 55% of the time or 45% of the time, I think it takes a lot of the fight away in the divorce, I think it makes it easier down the road for the kids."

The bill does involve a rebuttal, giving the judge the authority to make changes.

"If one parent can prove the other isn't a good parent or has their issues, that will be turned into the court as it is now and the judge has the authority to determine how much time the parents get," said Karpisek.

About 120 people showed up at Tuesday's hearing.

Karpisek says, he's not surprised; given the emotional nature of the bill.

Several fathers from the Omaha area have gotten involved and have been meeting with State Senators to try and help the cause.

Jeremy Barnhill knows first hand the ups and downs of a visitation plan. Until a few years ago, he saw his three kids 50 percent of the time. But one day, his case was moved to a different county and some of that time was taken away.

"I watched what it has done to my kids. I get calls from my 8 year old. I miss you, I love you, I want to see you, I want to be there she says," said Barnhill.

Senator Brad Ashford, who's on the judiciary committee, says he hasn't seen these types of bill be successful.

"The committee has shied away from any of those sorts of bills. We generally have taken the position that the courts are the proper forum to decide," said Ashford.

Senator Ashford says passing the measure isn't out of the question.

"We will take a look at this and see if the 45 percent bill creates any different sort of an attitude by the committee at this point," said Ashford.

Two other bills are also making their way through the unicameral this session; LB 22 and LB 139


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