Tennessee House Considering Equal Parenting Bill

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March 30th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Tennessee Representative Mike Bell has submitted House Bill 2916 to change the law to provide for 50/50 equal parenting unless there is clear and convincing evidence that one or both parents are unfit to care for the children.

The text of the bill reads:

By Bell

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 36, Chapter 6, Part 1, relative to equal parenting.


SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 36-6-101, is amended by deleting subdivision (a)(2)(A)(i) in its entirety and substituting instead the following:

(i) Except as provided in this subdivision (a)(2)(A), the court shall have the widest discretion to order a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. At any hearing to determine custody of a minor child, the court shall order that the child get equal time with each of the child’s parents unless the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that one (1) or both of the parents are unfit to care for the child. This section shall not be construed to prohibit both fit parents from voluntarily entering into a parenting plan that does not give the child equal time with each parent. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the court from giving the child less than equal time with a parent that does not seek equal time with the child. For the purpose of assisting the court in making a custody determination when a parent has been proven to be unfit, the court may direct that an investigation be conducted.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010, the public welfare requiring it.

We fully support this bill. Children deserve time with both of their parents unless the parents are incapable of caring for the children. Even in cases in which a parent is flawed or is being portrayed wrongly as such, a child can still often benefit from spending time with that parent. The parent may teach the child from personal experiences the other parent has never had and help the child to appreciate that while everybody is different and each person has strengths and weaknesses, nearly everybody has experience and insights to offer the people around them. This especially includes their own children.

Children who are raised by only one parent have been consistently shown to suffer many disadvantages compared to those who have significant time with both parents.

(from Nationally Renowned Fathers’ Rights Attorney Jeffery Leving Champions Equal Parenting in Controversial Tennessee House Bill)

The following grim statistics show the frightening consequences when a father is absent and demonstrates the importance of the bill:

  • Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school as their classmates who live with two parents
  • 75% of teen suicides occur in single-parent families
  • Fatherless children are eleven times more likely than are children from intact families to exhibit violent behavior
  • 80% of adolescents in psychiatric hospitals come from fatherless homes
  • Children who live apart from their fathers experience more accidents and a higher rate of chronic asthma, headaches and speech defects
  • 70% of the kids now incarcerated in juvenile corrections facilities grew up in a single-parent environment

This bill is unique and one of a kind. It has the potential to lay the groundwork for legislative change throughout the country.

While much of the media focus regarding this bill is on the idea that fathers will finally have a fair chance to spend time with their children despite a divorce, the bill is also important to mothers. It will help raise the bar on getting CPS agencies out of railroading one or both parents out of their children’s lives. It will also help ensure that mothers who have been unjustly cut out of their children’s lives will have another chance to spend significant time together once again.

Further Reading

Tennessee Legislature Considers Equal Parenting Bill

Tennessee moves to split custody evenly in messy divorces

House bill would give both parents equal custody of children

House bill would give both parents equal custody of children

Nationally Renowned Fathers’ Rights Attorney Jeffery Leving Champions Equal Parenting in Controversial Tennessee House Bill

Text of Tennessee House Bill 2916

  1. Debbie Foster
    March 31st, 2010 at 09:56 | #1

    I hope and pray that this passes!!! My son has a nine year old son that he wants equal time with. The little boy also wants this very much. I hate it when the mother gets more rights than the father. I am so thankful to Representative Mike Bell for submitting the bill. I really hope it passes!! May God Bless Representative Bell for standing up for father’s rights.

  2. March 31st, 2010 at 20:20 | #2

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/DADS-of-Tennessee/366276263080?v=wall&ref=nf A universal shared equal parenting law would prevent scorned women from preventing fathers from equal parenting time. This is why laws like HB2916 & SB2881 must be passed. 50-50 must be the starting point…Women do not own the children. The problem is, most women are not reasonable, especially when they see their CS pay check go out the door to daddy’s house. They want the money more than they want their children to have a father…it’s sad, but true. Please join us in the this fight for equality, share your stories and let’s work together to change the TN laws!

  3. April 1st, 2010 at 06:20 | #3

    A petition was started in support of HB2916 and will be sent to the Representatives once there are enough signatures. Read it, sign it and pass it along!

    In Support of the Tennessee House Bill 2916

  4. Don Fisher
    April 1st, 2010 at 21:23 | #4

    Whatta confirmation! Praise God!!!

    I was arrested in front of our son in March 2009 after I picked him up from daycare and at our karate classes together. I went from being an average and loving husband/ father to convicted DV offender overnight due to my wife’s fabricated evidence that I struck her in our son’s presence the evening previous. Being ignorant to my rights and the law, both our son and I got screwed. Presently, I submitted a legal petition to motion the judge towards reconciling the marriage to the court for a matter of record to be heard later this month. However, locating a father’s rights lawyer is next to impossible in my area whom would support the document. If nothing at all, I am looking to reclaim which was stolen from both our son and I by the Superior Court of the County of Butte; a loving father/ son relationship which he desires from me.

    I will be prayin’ to God that this bill passes. It would be my best ammo against this pro-woman, pro-child sexist freakshow in which I am playin’ the part of the fool here in CA. YOu’d seem to think this state would get the hint that a whole nation of fathers are quite pissed about the existing imbalances that exist. Then, again, the state can’t even balance its own budget short of the next big quake and when it will strike.

  5. #5
    April 3rd, 2010 at 09:36 | #5

    The harm of this bill is that it seeks to provide 50/50 “rights” to abusers, criminals, dead-beats, etc. What is the benefit for the child to go hang out with these kinds of adult role models? All it will do is give children the impression that they are indeed unprotected by the law – and at the mercy of evil. The law should put children’s interests first and this law does no such thing.

    Judges need to base their decisions on the merits of each individual case.

  6. #5
    April 3rd, 2010 at 09:39 | #6

    @Don Fisher

    It is amazing that you would have your parental rights revoked for no good reason. If you abused your wife, which it seems like you did because you got in trouble for it – then you deserve what you get. Of course you would be praying for this bill to pass – you and every other abuser.

  7. April 6th, 2010 at 14:22 | #7

    HB 2916 doesn’t say that judges can’t consider each individual case. It doesn’t let abusers off the hook or give them special rights. What it says is that kids should spent half the time with each of their parents unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.

    Based upon your comments, you seem like you’re yet another of the many child-abusing sociopaths who engage in false accusations to keep kids away from a loving and capable parent who has not abused them.

  8. Bobbi
    April 13th, 2010 at 11:32 | #8

    I think that all FIT parents should be given the equal opportunity to raise their children even if they were never married or are divorced. There are plenty of good parents getting the shaft on this because the norm has always been to give custody to one parent over the other.

    Because I work and go to school the court said I didn’t have enough time to spend with my child and gave me visitation while giving his father more custody then me and telling me to pay child support to him because he is on his 12th month of unemployment even though I make less then him and go to school full-time. My ex even said he wanted me banned from coming to eat lunch with my son at his school!

    If you have not been in this situation then you have no room to tell me that I don’t have full custody of my son for a reason. Judges choose what they want because regardless of what anyone says the courtroom is their universe and they are GOD.

  9. Chelle
    November 2nd, 2010 at 18:20 | #9

    I’m sorry I totally disagree with the 50/50 equal parenting law. Yes, I agree that both parents should be able to time with there children and as their parents you should be able to get along well enough to provide time for the other parent without all the bull. But to make children go back and forth from one home to another every few days or every other week or month is wrong. its not there fault you got divorced or couldnt stay together. Would you want to go from one home to the other all the time just when they get comfortable in one home oh its time to go the other thats wrong you should be able to get along well enough with your ex for your child to allow them time to. And yes i’m a divorced mother and I have never in anyway kept my children from there father and i wouldnt they love him to as well as he loves them. It is your job as a parent to provide your children with stabilty, love and care. You should be able to get along enough to provide the other parent there time to with out causing so much moving back and forth in your childs life. I have friends who have done this and I must say it hasn’t worked for them at all. One said 50/50 did it for awhile then the other parent decided not to do it anymore. Each one of friends kids have said they dont lke it. And when one told my kids. My children said they wouldnt want to have to live with dad one week then mom the next.. they like things just the way they are. Most of the crap with parents trying to keep others away from children is them using them as tool to hurt the other. That is very wrong, you both made these children out of love not to use them as tools to hurt someone with. In those cases when children are being used as a tool that parent is wrong and it should be taken into the courts. My children are the most important thing in my life as well as there dads. They are a special gift sent to us from the lord above to nuture, love and protect them. They already feel pain from mom and dad being apart for whatever reason why cause more by switing them back and forth all the time. Again I will say would you want to change your home, bed things from every other week or month or every few days. Please consider not doing that to your children get along for your kids and allow the parent to spend time when they are able to.

  10. DADS of Tennessee
    January 23rd, 2011 at 23:35 | #10

    We at DADS of Tennessee would love to have your support and signature on our petition supporting Equal Parenting in Tennessee. Please feel free to pass this link along to any and all that may also be willing to show their support.


    DADS of Tennessee:


  1. April 1st, 2010 at 20:18 | #1
  2. April 8th, 2010 at 18:39 | #2
  3. April 8th, 2010 at 18:39 | #3

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