Boston, MA–Background: The Boston Globe recently discussed Fathers & Families‘ shared parenting bill at great length in their editorial A fair role for fathers. While it’s somewhat annoying that the Globe does not endorse the bill, the editorial is in many ways very positive. The Globe, which generally leans towards feminist views and positions, essentially agrees with the main arguments behind shared parenting, but opts for defending judicial discretion, excessively in my view.
Paul Sawyer, a longtime reader and supporter of several our legislative campaigns, wrote a nice response to the Boston Globe in defense of the shared parenting bill. The best line:
“You call for research and pilot studies. The research has been done. Children do better with both parents actively involved in their lives.”
What’s best for kids at issue for dads
February 27, 2008
THE GLOBE got it wrong on the “shared parenting” bill (“A fair role for fathers,” Editorial, Feb. 23). You cite law professor Charles Kindregan, who should know better, writing that he “argues that a presumption of joint legal and physical custody could handcuff judges who should be free to consider the best interests of children on a case-by-case basis.” The bill would not take any discretion away from judges, as you noted three paragraphs earlier. Rather, it would require judges to state the reasons for their rulings in the event that one parent got sole custody.
Kindregan says, “You don’t need a presumption when you have facts.” Which should be true, but the experience of so many fathers in family court is that judges ignore facts and rule based on their own prejudices about mothers and fathers.
Lawyer Fern Frolin says, “We trust the discretion of judges.” The bill would never have been filed if judicial discretion was working. It is not, and data from case after case support this.
You call for research and pilot studies. The research has been done. Children do better with both parents actively involved in their lives. That is our goal: not father’s rights, but the best lives for our children.
PAUL SAWYER, Westford