“Instead of a father having to fight for time with the children he loves, the legal system would assume that he merits equal time, and spend its time working out the details and practicalities of a given case….”
The Worcester Telegram and Gazette, Massachusetts 3rd largest newspaper, has published a strong editorial in favor of HB 1400, Fathers & Families’ shared parenting bill. The editorial comes on the heels of the op-ed by Fathers & Families’ Board Chairman, Ned Holstein, Time for shared parenting (Worcester Telegram and Gazette, 4/29/10).
Both are the result of an Editorial Board meeting Holstein, F & F Deputy Director Melissa Hodgdon, and Massachusetts shared parenting activist Peter Hill had with the newspaper’s Editorial Board last month. F & F also helped persuade the Boston Globe to become first major newspaper in country to endorse shared parenting in principle in an editorial (Feb 23, 2008), meaning that two of the three largest newspapers in Massachusetts have now endorsed shared parenting. Thanks again to Peter Hill for his dedicated and effective activism.
In their editorial Fairness for fathers: Bill makes sense for most divorces (Worcester Telegram and Gazette, 5/13/10), the newspaper’s Editorial Board writes:
By smoothing the way toward sound custody agreements, House Bill 1400 offers help in the vast majority of cases: those involving two fit parents.
Advocates point out that the current practice in Massachusetts, in which the mother is the presumed custodial parent, encourages conflict. The Shared Parenting bill would require that courts handling separation and divorce agreements work from the presumption that both parents should share physical and legal custody.
That, says the advocacy group Fathers & Families, encourages cooperation and keeps the focus on what is best for children. Instead of a father having to fight for time with the children he loves, the legal system would assume that he merits equal time, and spend its time working out the details and practicalities of a given case. Shared parenting needn”t be a rigid 50-50 split; the mere assumption that both parents deserve ample time eases tensions, and the eventual agreement arrived at depends on a host of factors…
The bill, it must be emphasized, is for families in which both parents are fit and no other problem gets in the way, such as parents living far apart. Judges would depart from the shared-parenting starting point whenever the best interests of the child so dictated, giving written reasons.
This simple bill, currently before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, offers an enormous and welcome change in how families would navigate marriage dissolution…
One poster, an adult child of divorce, wrote:
I am a adult now, but was a child of divorce along with my brother. To me this law makes perfect sense. My mother, in her later years, told me she refused to let my father see my brother & I as children. She said it was a big mistake. My brother, to this day, longs for the relationship he never had with my father who died quite a few years ago. As kids we always thought he just wrote us off & didn’t want a relationship with us. Sad for all.
I believe if both parents are good parents, loving & able to give their kids guidance & a good childhood, that’s how it should be…shared custody.