Saturday, February 28, 2009

HB 0831 by *Jones S. (SB 0829 by *Marrero B.) introduction to the TN General Assembly

This link was brought to my attention about a house/senate bill being considered in the Tennessee General Assembly. According to this link this bill states "Evidence - As introduced, prohibits the admission of any evidence concerning parental alienation syndrome in any proceeding involving a custody determination of a minor child. - Amends TCA Title 24, Chapter 7 and Title 36." According to TN law concerning custody determination, I came across this link. For chapter 36-6-106. Child custody it states:

36-6-106. Child custody. —

(a) In a suit for annulment, divorce, separate maintenance, or in any other proceeding requiring the court to make a custody determination regarding a minor child, the determination shall be made on the basis of the best interest of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors, including the following, where applicable:
(1) The love, affection and emotional ties existing between the parents or caregivers and the child;
(2) The disposition of the parents or caregivers to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education and other necessary care and the degree to which a parent or caregiver has been the primary caregiver;
(3) The importance of continuity in the child's life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment; provided, that, where there is a finding, under subdivision (a)(8), of child abuse, as defined in §
39-15-401 or § 39-15-402, or child sexual abuse, as defined in § 37-1-602, by one (1) parent, and that a nonperpetrating parent or caregiver has relocated in order to flee the perpetrating parent, that the relocation shall not weigh against an award of custody;
(4) The stability of the family unit of the parents or caregivers;
(5) The mental and physical health of the parents or caregivers;
(6) The home, school and community record of the child;
(7) (A) The reasonable preference of the child, if twelve (12) years of age or older;
(B) The court may hear the preference of a younger child on request. The preferences of older children should normally be given greater weight than those of younger children;
(8) Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person; provided, that, where there are allegations that one (1) parent has committed child abuse, as defined in §
39-15-401 or § 39-15-402, or child sexual abuse, as defined in § 37-1-602, against a family member, the court shall consider all evidence relevant to the physical and emotional safety of the child, and determine, by a clear preponderance of the evidence, whether such abuse has occurred. The court shall include in its decision a written finding of all evidence, and all findings of facts connected to the evidence. In addition, the court shall, where appropriate, refer any issues of abuse to the juvenile court for further proceedings;
(9) The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent or caregiver and the person's interactions with the child; and
(10) Each parent or caregiver's past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness and ability of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child's parents, consistent with the best interest of the child.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, the court has jurisdiction to make an initial custody determination regarding a minor child or may modify a prior order of child custody upon finding that the custodial parent has been convicted of or found civilly liable for the intentional and wrongful death of the child's other parent or legal guardian.
(c) As used in this section, “caregiver” has the meaning ascribed to that term in §
37-5-501.
(d) Nothing in subsections (a) and (c) shall be construed to affect or diminish the constitutional rights of parents that may arise during and are inherent in custody proceedings.

[Acts 1995, ch. 428, § 2; 1998, ch. 1003, § 1; 1998, ch. 1095, §§ 2, 3; 2000, ch. 683, § 2; 2007, ch. 245, §§ 1-3.]

This bill would contradict the 36-6-106 Child Custody rules that already exist. I looked at section 10 which states: (10) Each parent or caregiver's past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness and ability of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child's parents, consistent with the best interest of the child. A parent who is participating in alienating the child from the other parent does not facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and other parent. Alienating parents are obsessed with intentionally destroying the relationship between the child and the targeted parent. The alienating parent will lie to the child about the targeted parent’s true feelings. They will encourage the child to believe that the targeted parent is harmful. They will attempt to erase the targeted parent from the child’s life. This is NOT encouraging a close and continuing relationship between the child and both parents.

I could argue most of the other points as well, but I think the above is important. Whomever came up with this bill for consideration has not researched parental alienation thoroughly. If this bill were to pass, children in the state of Tennessee will suffer the most.

If you reside in Tennessee, contact your lawmakers and urge them to vote against this bill for consideration.

Parental Alienation is abuse! Stop the abuse!

2 comments:

  1. Just found your blog. We have also been living in the darkness of parental alienation So glad to see that the legal system is finally starting to "see the light". Thank you for continuing to speak out for children !

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  2. Hello,

    Thank you for your comment. I think the legal system knows something is not "right" in all custody cases, but it still does not do anything to stop the abuse. In my post, I wrote that TN will PROHIBIT the admission of any evidence concerning parental alienation syndrome into custody cases. This will harm children that are being taught to hate a parent. This may allow judges to place custody into the hands of alienators. I understand that some other "groups" have an agenda against the term parental alienation and think that abusers use this against the ones that are protecting their children from the abusers. Understand that parental alienation is abuse, no matter how it is phrased. Children do not hate parents, they are taught to do this. This is what parental alienation is....convincing a child to hate a parent. If you are from TN please write to your legislators about this proposed bill and ask them to vote against it.

    Alienated Mom

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