[4/20/10 Update–AB 2416 has now passed the Assembly by unanimous consent. The bill will now go to the Senate.–GS] California AB 2416 will help protect the loving bonds that servicemembers share with their children–to email and fax a letter in support of the bill, click here. Please send your letter whether you are a California resident or not. Fathers & Families has worked closely with Assemblyman Paul Cook, the American Retirees Association, and others on AB 2416, which will be heard in committee on Tuesday, April 6.
Read Fathers & Families’ official support letter here. At Fathers & Families we receive many letters from divorced or separated military servicemembers with painful but preventable family law problems. Many parents serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, or other distant locales are anguished that custodial parents have impeded or completely eliminated their contact with their children. When the deployed soldier calls his children at the court-specified time, nobody answers. Letters are written, but they never reach the children. Needless to say, it is extremely difficult for a deployed servicemember to effectively overcome this visitation interference. Given the length and frequency of current deployments, many soldiers lose all contact and sometimes even their relationships with their children, particularly if the children are young. Other servicemembers return from serving to find that while they once had a custody arrangement which allowed them to play a meaningful role in their children”s lives, the new custody arrangement allows them only a marginal role, if any role at all. To regain their previous custody arrangement they must engage in costly, time-consuming litigation, which increases conflict and dissipates much of the time and money that they would otherwise be spending on their children. AB 2416 will address these problems in several ways:
AB 2416 authorizes courts to issue orders granting grandparents, stepparents and extended families the ability to exercise a deployed soldier”s normal parenting time. By encouraging courts to issue such orders, we allow children to preserve their loving bonds with their deployed parents, and also protect the important relationships children share with their grandparents, stepparents, and other extended family. AB 2416 will substantially reduce the current problem of deployed servicemembers being unable to enforce visitation/contact orders. AB 2416 creates a rebuttable presumption that when a military parent is deployed, upon his or her return, child custody and visitation orders will revert to the original order. This protects the crucial role these parents play in their children’s lives, and helps prevent a military parent from having to re-litigate their case.
To send a letter to Sacramento in support of AB 2416 , please click here. America was greatly moved by deployed sailor Bill Hawes’ tearful reunion with his little son and little Siri Jordan’s reunion with her divorced father Dan Jordan. AB 2416 will help protect precious relationships like these. Fathers & Families’ legislative representative Michael Robinson and assistant legislative representative Nicole Silverman have spent months lobbying legislators and gathering support for AB 2416. F & F is creating real, tangible family court reform today, but our deep, professional involvement in Sacramento requires money–contribute to the organization which fights for you by clicking here. Together with you in the love of our children, Glenn Sacks, MA Executive Director, Fathers & Families Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S. Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers & Families