Alabama child custody laws shelved

Some fathers in Alabama who claim they do not receive enough time with their children as a result of their child custody agreement have expressed their dismay a bill that would give them more custody has been shelved until the next legislative session, according to the Anniston Star.

Luke Smallwood, a Jacksonville resident, told the newspaper he believes lopsided child custody laws in the state are partially to blame for his 2-year-old son’s disappearance. Smallwood, who is supposed to see his son every other weekend as part of his custody agreement with his ex-wife, said earlier this month his wife didn’t show up when it was his weekend.

“Unless the mother is a crackhead or has some sort of drug addiction, the court isn’t going to give fathers any rights,” Smallwood told the paper.

To help fathers win more custody rights, the state Senate introduced the Alabama Children’s Family Act, which would have required judges to order equal, joint custody of children in all divorce settlements that parents cannot work out themselves. However, the news provider said opponents believe the measure would provide little stability to children who were forced to travel back and forth between two homes.

Other states have also been reconsidering their child custody laws. Tennessee recently passed a bill that requires judges to consider how they can maximize a child’s involvement with both parents when making custody decision, which was signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam.