Update on Shared Parenting Legislation in Massachusetts

June 3, 2016
By: Ned Holstein, MD, MS  Founder and Chair of the Board, National Parents Organization

When we last updated you on the Massachusetts shared parenting bill, we informed you that we were having meetings with the Judiciary Committee. The Committee had made numerous negative changes to the bill that had been originally developed by Governor Patrick’s Working Group, on which I and others served. The purpose of the meetings was to see how much of the Working Group’s version of the bill could be restored.

The meetings have now concluded, and we feel confident that we have restored many important provisions of the Working Group. But we have still not seen the final language. Nor do we know exactly when we will see it, only that we will see it at the same time everyone else does.  Only then will we know whether we can support or must oppose the bill. We will not take a middle ground: we will either be for it or against it, because if a bill passes this year, the Legislature will not seriously consider another custody reform bill for years. We do not want to be stuck with a not-good-enough bill.

Just to confuse you further, the bill has changed its number several times as it has passed through the legislative process. This makes sense if you are a legislator dealing with 9,000 bills as they progressively undergo amendments. But for a citizen, it is totally confusing.

The bill we care about was originally known as S834, then became H1207, and now is H4107. To make this more confusing, the version of H4107 that can be seen currently on the Legislature’s website is not the final version.

As soon as we see the final language of H4107, we will let you know our recommendation whether to support or oppose. We will need you to rise to the occasion again and once more deluge your Senator and Rep with letters, calls and emails to support or oppose. It worked the last time, so let’s do it again when the time comes.

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