Bill would fine divorced parents who don’t visit kids

Initiative aimed at enforcing visitation arrangements while putting children at center of concern.

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation is due on Sunday to decide whether the government will support a private member’s bill that calls for compensatory and punitive measures to be taken against a divorced parent who does not uphold visitation obligations regarding his children.
The bill was initiated by MKs Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) and Orit Zuaretz (Kadima) and formulated with the help of the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women.
According to Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, head of the Rackman Center, “The bill will help to efficiently enforce the visitation arrangements while putting the child at the center of concern. It will help parents internalize their joint obligation to raise their children even after the break-up and help protect the weaker sides, who are vulnerable to extortion and injury because of violations of visitation arrangements which have not been enforced until now.”
The aim of the legislation, according to the bill, “is to provide the court with the means to guarantee the observance of visitation arrangements and to provide suitable protection to the victim of the violation of these arrangements.”
It if becomes law, in cases where the parent who does not have custodyof the child does not show up for his appointed visitation hours, he(or she) will have to compensate the other for the financial damagesthat have been caused. If the visiting parent chronically fails tofulfill his obligations, the court can hand down punitive compensationwhich will be deposited in a special fund for the child. The punitivefines will be 15 to 25 percent of the income of the visiting parent. Inmore extreme cases, the court may decrease or deny visiting rights tothe delinquent parent, and increase alimony payments.
If the parent who has custody of the child prevents the ex-spouse fromvisiting the children, he (or she) will be liable to punitivecompensation of 15 to 25% of his salary, depending on how much he earns.
The bill is being presented to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Family Day.