Alabama Weighs Changes to Child Custody Laws Aimed at Uniting Broken Families

The Alabama Senate is considering rewriting the state's child custody laws based on a controversial plan that has divided lawmakers over uniting broken families.

The bill would require divorced parents to share equal custody unless one is declared unfit. Supporters say the bill will inject fairness into custody battles that usually favors mothers, and allows both parents to raise their children. But opponents say the bill could hurt children by destabilizing their lives.

The Senate Children, Youth Affairs and Human Resources Committee narrowly passed the legislation this week in a 3-2 vote and it now heads to the full state Senate.

Republican Sen. Paul Bussman, a divorced father who says he got little time with his children when they were growing up, sponsored the bill.

Bussman told the Birmingham News that he saw his children every other weekend and once during the week in the wake of his divorce 15 years ago.

"I'm over the anger, but I understand the problem," he told the newspaper.

Democratic Sen. Vivian Davis Figures opposes the concept.

"This is a bad bill," Democratic Sen. Vivian Davis Figures told the newspaper. "We cannot have a one size fits all (approach) where children are concerned. You just can't."