The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Tuesday to help parents better understand judges’ rulings on child custody and visitation. Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, authored Senate 65 after hearing from numerous constituents who are frustrated with their custody or visitation arrangements and have gotten no clear explanation about the court’s findings.
“To judges, these individuals may just be another number on their docket but these are families and relationships that are impacted by their decisions. Parents deserve to know exactly why a judge rules a certain way on custody and visitation,” Pemberton said. “This will help parents know if they need to address an issue or fix a problem in order to spend more time with their children.”
SB 65 authorizes either parent in a determination over child custody or visitation to request the judge to submit clear and concise written findings specifying the factors considered in making a determination on custody or visitation to be included in the final order. The order is appealable to the court of competent jurisdiction.
“Divorces can be ugly and, often times, parents can’t depend on their ex-spouses to do the right thing when it comes to custody and visitation. Children are often wrongly used as pawns to hurt the other parent,” said Pemberton. “Lack of proper and fair visitation or custody can be detrimental to the child-parent relationship. This is an effort to make sure that parents have a clear understanding of the reasoning behind a judge’s ruling and gives them the opportunity to properly defend themselves or, if needs be, request another judge if there is apparent bias.”
SB 65 now moves before the full Senate.