Joel Bernheim Praises New Arizona Bill, Expanding Father’s Custody Rights

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While mothers have historically received fuller child custody rights than fathers, new Arizona legislation is seeking to expand the rights of birth fathers—drawing the praise of activists like Joel Bernheim.

Traditionally, mothers have often received fuller custody rights than fathers, both in matters of divorce and matters of children born out of wedlock. A new bill from the Arizona Legislature is seeking to change that. The bill in question, which has already passed the State Senate and is now moving toward a vote in the House, will upend existing Arizona legislature concerning out-of-wedlock custody disputes. Currently, mothers in Arizona have full custody until paternity is established and a court decides to grant rights to the father. The new bill will grant full custody rights to the father, so long as his name is on the child’s birth certificate or both parents acknowledged his paternity. The bill has drawn the attention of various members of the father’s rights movement, including Joel Bernheim.

Joel Bernheim has long been an outspoken advocate of birthfathers’ rights. “There is no way to predict what challenges fatherless children may face in their lives,” he says, with regard to the Arizona legislation. “But statistics prove children who do not have a father in their lives are more susceptible to problems across the board. Fathers’ rights have historically been an afterthought, yet they are vital to ensuring the proper growth and maturity of young children.”

Joel Bernheim is not the only one to feel so strongly about the issue. His comments are echoed by Arizona Senator Rick Murphy, who commented, “It is important for children not to be whipsawed in cases where just because they are out of wedlock and a mother gets upset with the father, she has total control.”

There has arisen some opposition to the Arizona bill, largely on the grounds that it complicates existing legal precedence, which awards custody to whichever parent the child has lived with the longest. However, the bill finds enthusiastic support among Joel Bernheim’s peers in the father’s rights movement. Meanwhile, Sen. Murphy and the bill’s supporters say they will tweak and revise the bill before it goes before the governor, ensuring that all of its unintended legal consequences are “fixed.”

The father’s rights movement is comprised largely of men who desire equal child custody with their ex-wives following a divorce. The movement also takes an interest in cases related to out-of-wedlock children, however, with the Arizona legislation serving as a prime example.


Joel Bernheim is a professional within the asset receivables management industry, and currently serves as Executive Vice-President of Operations at the Illinois Company Asset Recovery Solutions, LLC. He is also an outspoken activist and philanthropist, with much of his activism centered on the father’s rights movement.

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Michael McGarety
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