Tipping Point in Massachusetts

March 8, 2016
By Ned Holstein, MD, MS Founder and Chair of the Board, National Parents Organization

Your Call Will Make the Difference

Do you feel helpless to change the family courts of Massachusetts? Do you feel you can’t fight the system? You’ve spent $80,000 on legal fees and all it got you was every other weekend?

This is the moment when you CAN change the system. Two critical issues hang in the balance this week in Massachusetts. If you call your legislators on Beacon Hill RIGHT NOW (details below) – and get a couple of friends or family to do the same – you can topple mountains. And you can support two crucial bills with one call!

First is our terrific shared parenting bill, known as S834. This bill means that every fit parent would get at least one-third of the parenting time. Also, for the FIRST TIME, negative behaviors by parents would have consequences, such as creating needless conflict or refusing to cooperate with the other parent, knowingly making false accusations, undermining the relationship between the child and the other parent, or defying the parenting time orders.

S834 has a lot of support and momentum on Beacon Hill. But it is opposed by the bar associations — the lawyers. And its fate hangs in the balance right now in the Judiciary Committee.

Please call your STATE SENATOR TODAY and ask him/her to support S834. You can find out the name and phone number of your senator HERE.

This is your message when you reach your senator or his/her legislative aide: “Please call the Co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee and urge them to move S834 out of committee without change. Please support the best interest of children, not the best interest of lawyers.”

That’s all you have to say. They don’t expect you to be an expert on the details of the bill.

It is especially important that you make this call if your Senator is Patricia Jehlen, William Brownsberger, Sonia Chang-Diaz, John Keenan, or Cynthia Creem, all of whom are voting members of the Judiciary Committee. (Brownsberger and Keenan are the Co-chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee.)

It is fine to call your House Representative too if you wish, but we believe that the bill is stronger there. Better to concentrate your energy on getting several people to call their senators.

Next: Alimony reform also hangs in the balance, in the same committee! So you can kill two birds –- ur, pass two bills—with the same phone call by supporting both shared parenting and alimony reform.

Here’s the background. Under the leadership of Steve Hitner of Massachusetts Alimony Reform (MAR), the Legislature passed a comprehensive and excellent reform of the alimony law in 2011. Unfortunately, about 18 months ago, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts invalidated a couple of crucial aspects of the new law, which had been passed UNANIMOUSLY by the Legislature, showing total disrespect for the democratic process.

So now, with tireless prodding by Steve, the Legislature has come up with H4034, the Amendment to the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, which fixes the most important problems cause by the SJC decision.

This bill had its Legislative hearing on Monday, March 7 before the Judiciary Committee. Now its fate rests with the decision of this committee whether to approve it or not.

When you call your Senator and Rep to support shared parenting in S834, also express your wish that they should approve H4034, the Alimony Amendment.

Steve says the following should be your message:

The SJC got it wrong and now you have the burden of huge legal fees.  
    b. You have lost your ability to retire.  
    c. You negotiated a fair settlement and now you fear it will be overturned and you will again end up with endless litigation and legal bills.

Anything else you think is pertinent.

Steve encourages you to call him at 508-335-0069 if you have any questions.

OK, runners to the line………GO!

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