June 22, 2010
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S., Chair of the Board of Fathers and Families, discussed Fathers and Families’ shared parenting bill HB 1400 on ABC’s Boston affiliate WCVB on Tuesday, June 22.
The story also featured longtime F & F member Rob Derosier, who told WCVB about his long, hard fight to remain a meaningful part of his daughter’s life after his divorce. To watch the show, click here. ABC’s synopsis of the story is Divorced Fathers: Shared Parenting Best For Kids, Legislation Calls For Presumed Joint Custody. To comment on the piece, click here. From ABC’s synopsis:
A bill before the Massachusetts legislature would change the direction of child custody decisions, making shared and equal parenting the norm. When Rob Derosier welcomed his daughter into the world 10 years ago, he never expected that after divorce he’d become a mere visitor in her life. “It’s the first time you have to drive up to a house and pick her up, and then drive up to the house and drop her off,” said Derosier. “That’s when it really hits home, when you realize your daughter really isn’t yours anymore.” From the outset, Rob asked the court for joint physical custody, but his ex-wife received it [full custody]. Rob spent years seeing his daughter for 2 hours a week, every other weekend, and on summer vacations. “I found that no matter what I tried to do to convince the court that I was a fit parent and my daughter should spend equal time with me, there was no avenue to getting that done,” said Derosier. “No matter what I tried to do, it was a dead end.” Ned Holstein, founder of Fathers and Families, said the courts have been locked too long in an unmovable belief that mothers should have sole physical custody. “Courts are still stuck in an old-fashioned, archaic one parent mentality instead of two parents for children after there is divorce, and there’s no need for it,” said Holstein. His organization is pushing a bill on Beacon Hill that would establish the presumption of “equally shared parenting in divorce.” If the judge believes joint custody is not in the best interest of the child, he must put those reasons in writing. “They need to be nudged a bit into the 21st century,” he said. But the bill has powerful detractors, including the Massachusetts Bar Association. In a statement to NewsCenter 5, they said “each custody case is unique and requires judges to consider a multitude of factors in determining custody.” Holstein said the bill does not tie the judges hands. “There are complexities, situations where joint custody is not the right thing.”
To learn more about our shared parenting bill, click here.