New Legislation Aims To Give Family Law A Modern Makeover
When California lawmakers return from summer break in early August, they are scheduled to review new legislation that aims to update family law and paternal rights practices in order to reflect the changing and evolving nature of family dynamics in today’s modern times.
Laws molded from “Leave It To Beaver”-era families are not practical or relevant in today’s society, and have created long and bitter disputes. These disputes have caused legislators to take a fresh look at modernizing family law. For example, Jason Patric, star of “The Lost Boys”, has been seeking custody rights over a son he fathered with a former girlfriend through a sperm donation. Additionally, the children of the late radio personality Casey Kasem had been in a lengthy and emotional legal fightwith their stepmother to visit and have contact with their father during the last years of his life.
Supporters of family law reform claim that family law is far outdated, and does not accurately reflect advances in technology and social change. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a long time gay rights advocate and San Francisco Democrat, feels updating the laws is one step towards nontraditional families gaining the acceptance they deserve. “As a lawmaker, what you can accomplish is changing what’s in the law that’s being detrimental and dehumanizing.” Ammiano states. For example, legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown in July changes the definition of marriage in family as “between a man and a woman” and replaces references to husband and wife with the term spouse.
“In a perfect world we wouldn’t need laws to tell people how to ‘play nice’. We get calls practically everyday from people that want to do the right thing, and that are met with resistance and negativity,” says Carla Zolman, Lead Attorney at Zolman Law Firm. “The number of people that try to alienate their children from their other parent has grown exponentially over the years, it’s only natural that the laws would evolve to try to rectify the situation.”
Families are now brought together and created in so many different ways. Technological and social reforms have changed the way we live our lives today. It only seems natural that family law be updated in order to better reflect these changes.