Saturday, March 10, 2001

Child-custody bill sent to governor

The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — A bill to make it easier to get a child-custody arrangement changed won final passage in the General Assembly on Friday.

        The bill easily passed both the Senate and House after a conference committee reached agreement. The bill carries an emergency clause, allowing it to take effect upon the governor's signature.

        If enacted, a judge would determine a child's “best interests” when deciding whether to reopen a custody order at least two years old.

        Anyone seeking to modify a custody decree would have to offer supporting affidavits. A judge then would decide whether to hold a hearing, which in turn could lead to a change in custody.

        For custody cases less than 2 years old, the current, more restrictive requirement would remain: proof that a child's physical, mental or emotional health might be seriously endangered in his current home.

        A House-Senate conference committee agreed to the language, and the Senate passed the compromise bill, 28-8. It won final House passage 92-0.


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