Last year, a bill (SB 5598/HB 2117) was introduced to the Washington state legislature regarding family visitation rights. This bill is sponsored by several local legislators, including Sen. Kuderer, Rep. McBride, Rep. Goodman, Rep. Springer. It must be very important to them, because it has been reintroduced no less than four times over the last year, most recently on Monday, Jan. 8.
Not content to have courts merely resolve custody disputes or abuse in dysfunctional families, this bill gives power to county courts to manage healthy children who live in functional homes with both parents in a stable relationship. How? According to the bill, any blood relative – second cousins, half-relatives and definitely including that creepy uncle – who feels they have a “mutuality of interest and affection” toward your child, may file a petition for visitation rights.
The court is ordered to weigh the “love, affection, and strength” of that relationship against your “reasons for denying visitation.” Then, the judge decides what is in the “best interest of the child.”
Why is it the county’s business to resolve family disagreements on whom you allow to visit your child when you have full parental rights? I personally can’t figure that out, but I know plenty of friends who are trying to avoid nosy family members who think they know how to better take care of their children. I don’t want to have my tax dollars wasted on creepy uncles dragging those friends into court.