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The Lord of the Flies
Kids have to agree to their own parenting plan.

In 1954, William Golding penned a novel called Lord of the Flies about a group of school boys stranded on a desert island and their failure to govern themselves. Now 67 years later, State Representative Courtney Neron (D-Wilsonville) has introduced HB 2959 that indicates that maybe she didn't read the novel in her literature classes in high school. Her bill would require children age 14 and up to sign off on their own parenting plan.

There's a reason why we don't let 14-year-olds enter into contracts, marry, drive, and vote -- at least for now. And one wonders what problem is being solved by this legislation. What happens if the kid refuses to sign on to any plan that doesn't include a monthly trip to Disneyland?

Current statute says that "It is the policy of this state to:

(1) Assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interests of the child;
(2) Encourage such parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage;
(3) Encourage parents to develop their own parenting plan with the assistance of legal and mediation professionals, if necessary;
(4) Grant parents and courts the widest discretion in developing a parenting plan;
(5) Consider the best interests of the child and the safety of the parties in developing a parenting plan.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

To these, Neron proposes adding one more. "Ensure that parenting plans involving children who are 14 years of age or older reflect the child’s wishes;" and, more significantly, "If the child is 14 years of age or older, a parenting plan under this section may not be entered into or ordered without the consent of the child."

It's certainly understandable that a parenting plan should try to get some buy-in from the impacted child, but giving the child veto power seems like a bridge too far. Some might think that HB 2959 is an unnecessary wedge between a parent and a child, enforced by a state with a less-than-perfect track record caring for kids.

The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Law. It has not been scheduled for a hearing.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-19 07:18:05Last Update: 2021-02-18 20:27:37



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