[Late note: Vote for shared parenting in the Detroit News’ reader poll by clicking here. The News asks readers the question “Should kids’ time be divided equally between separated parents?”]
Michigan–Michigan shared parenting groups have been fighting to pass HB 4564, a shared parenting bill, and have gained considerable support in the process. The bill was heard in the Michigan House Judiciary Committee on May 7 in a testimony-only hearing, and Jim Semerad of Dads and Moms of Michigan, an affiliate of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, told me this morning that he would like your assistance in getting the Committee to bring the bill to a vote. He asks that my readers, including readers who do not reside in Michigan, do the following:
1) Call Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Paul Condino (517) 373-1788 and Michigan Rep. Glenn Steil Jr. (517) 373-0147 and tell them you support HB 4564.
2) Write Condino and Steil a 250-400 word letter explaining why not having shared parenting has negatively impacted your children. To email Condino and Steil, click here.
Please be polite, leave rhetoric and name-calling out of it, and stick to the negative impact that the win/lose custody system has had upon your children. Semerad says that letters from children of divorce explaining how shared parenting would have helped them during their childhoods are particularly important, as are letters from noncustodial mothers, stepmothers, and grandmothers.
Again, to email Condino and Steil, click here. Feel free to post the letters you send as comments in this blog post.
Michigan shared parenting activists got a nice media write-up today with a front page article in the Detroit News about shared parenting and HB 4564. The article discusses the pros and cons of HB 4564 and also discusses Michigan shared parenting activist Robert Petersen’s annual shared parenting bike trip from Michigan to Washington DC. The article is Kim Kozlowski’s Michigan father fights for joint custody law: Parents’ equal access to children called a civil rights issue; critics say policy may hurt kids (Detroit News, 5/18/08). Kozlowski writes:
“…child custody is perhaps the most heated issue between parents when they split up and try to restructure their lives with their children.
“Michigan hasn’t kept reports on custody arrangements for several years, but the latest information, in 2003, shows that the Friend of the Court recommended physical custody of the children for mothers in 68 percent of the 14,470 cases that year, while fathers were recommended 12 percent of the time. Joint custody was recommended in 2,717 cases — about 18 percent…
“Since the 1990s, Michigan fathers have been trying to get the laws changed to force the courts to immediately presume equal joint custody.
“A hearing was recently held on the fourth bill introduced in the Michigan Legislature, but it was not voted out of the House Judiciary Committee. It includes an exception for unfit parents…
“Michigan dads say their effort is growing — four new state organizations support the issue, and their ranks have grown from 5,000 to 20,000 people, said Lake Orion resident Jim Semerad, one of the leaders in Michigan’s movement.
“The growth appears to be eclipsing grass-roots groups headed by custodial mothers.”
The full article can be seen here. To learn more about the shared parenting bill, also see my recent co-authored column, Shared Parenting Bill Will Help Michigan”s Kids, Overburdened Court System (Oakland Press, 5/5/08)
Again, Michigan shared parenting activists ask that you call and write Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Paul Condino (517) 373-1788 and Michigan Rep. Glenn Steil Jr. (517) 373-0147 and tell them you support the shared parenting bill. Condino’s and Steil’s phone #s, fax #s, and email addresses are below. To email Condino and Steil, click here.
Rep. Paul Condino
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514
Phone: (517) 373-1788
Fax: (517) 373-5880
Rep. Glenn Steil Jr.