In light of recent headlining cases, lawmakers are looking to modernize family law legislation that was created during the “Leave it to Beaver” era. Once lawmakers return from summer hiatus they’ll be looking to update family law and parental rights to fall more in line with the ever-evolving definition of family.
Recent Family Law Trials Raise Questions
Recently cases such as “The Lost Boys” star, Jason Patric’s custody case and Casey Kasem’s children’s fight with their stepmother over visitation rights have caused lawmakers to wonder if the old laws fit are still relevant. Both of these cases are examples of nontraditional families struggling within the very confined definitions of traditional family laws.
New Need for New Laws Gains Ground
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano feels that updating the laws is a means for nontraditional families to gain acceptance. One example of the types of changes that are on their way, is the legislation that Gov. Jerry Brown just signed that replaces references to husband and wife with the word spouse – thus deleting the definition of marriage as “between a man and a woman.” Cathy Sakimura, family law director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, feels that, “Because families are formed in so many different ways and (disputes) are always based on the factual situation that a particular family is facing, it’s almost impossible for any family code to address all needs.”
Opponents to New Laws
Social conservatives feel that the legislation changes regarding family law wouldn’t need to change if family structures were to remain traditionally “normal.” Randy Thomason, an advocate of traditional families, and president of SaveCalifornia.com feels these proposed changes show, “how far our society has fallen: It used to be a simple answer to who’s your father and who’s your mother.” But Assemblymen like Ammiano feel it’s important to keep the idea of the “new norm” at the forefront of minds. “As a lawmaker, what you can accomplish is changing what’s in the law that’s being detrimental and dehumanizing,” Ammiano said.
Source: Los Angeles Daily News, California lawmakers look to update family law, July 27, 2014
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