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KBTX | Bryan & College Station, TX | News, Weather, Sports

Father Fights for His Rights

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

One dad moved across the country to be closer to his kids, only to have a Texas judge decide he had limited rights to see them.

Now that Huntsville father is taking his message of equal custody, to the streets.

For Mark Bitara, the only thing more important than getting out his message...are his kids.

"Both parents walk into the courtroom as equal parents, but one walks out a loser and one a winner," said Bitara.

Bitara, originally from the Philippines, moved from New Jersey to Texas to be closer to his two boys.

In New Jersey, Bitara had equal custody with the boy's mother.

But once in Texas, a Walker County Judge ruled to give his ex-wife primary custody.

Limiting him to mere hours a week with his children.

"How can I be an effective parent?" questioned Bitara.

Bitara says this isn't just a fight for just father's rights. In fact, most of his strongest supporters are women.

"This is an issue that affects men and women. I see a grandmother that gave me a thumbs up," said Bitara.

Even the judge who ruled against Bitara has been quoted as agreeing with his cause, although she would not comment on camera.

Nationally, about 90 percent of fathers have less than full custody of their children.

In cases where custody has been granted, 69 percent of children live solely with their mother, 9 percent just with their father, and 22 percent spend equal time with both parents.

Bitara believes it's in everyone's best interest to speak up, until someone listens.

"I have not given myself a deadline. I'll keep going as long as I can. If no one does it, who will? If not now -- When?" said Bitara.

For more information on Mark Bitara's cause log onto www.equal-custody.org.


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