Fathers and Families” shared parenting bill has languished in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in past years. We believe it might have suffered a similar fate this session, in part, because Co-Chairwoman Cynthia Creem of Newton, a divorce lawyer, has strongly opposed shared parenting bills in the past.
Now, through our efforts, we have managed to get our shared parenting bill assigned to a different committee, the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. While the bill still faces an uphill battle, we hope that it will get a fair and thoughtful hearing in this committee.
We hope that the Committee will recognize that shared parenting is good for children, diminishes parental conflict, and is fair for adults. We hope the committee will also see that we have built wide support for shared parenting, including 30% of the Massachusetts Legislature as co-sponsors, as well as the non-binding ballot initiative in which 86% of voters endorsed shared parenting as the usual outcome.
The bill now has a permanent number: H02684. (Previous numbers were temporary and should be disregarded.) Its lead sponsor is Representative John Scibak (“Sigh-back”). It is entitled “A Bill Relative to Supporting Children and Parental Custody.” It supports children and strengthens families by creating a rebuttable presumption of shared parenting in divorce cases, so that children can sustain their loving relationships with both parents.
Fathers and Families continues to seek lead volunteers to coordinate our efforts to win over legislators. If you are willing to take a lead role, please contact me at NedHolstein@fathersandfamilies.org by email or at (617) 542-9300.
To learn more about the bill, please see our Massachusetts Shared Parenting page here.
Together with you in the love of our children,
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers and Families