Holstein Discusses F & F's Shared Parenting Bill on ABC Boston

Slate Backpedals from Claim Fathers 'Lie' About Parenting

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Holstein Discusses F & F's Shared Parenting Bill on ABC Boston; Slate Backpedals from Claim Fathers 'Lie' About Parenting
June 29, 2010
Top Stories
ABC Boston Does Special on F & F's Shared Parenting Bill, Holstein, F & F Member Rob Derosier Interviewed

HolsteinNed Holstein, M.D., M.S., Chair of the Board of Fathers and Families, discussed Fathers and Families' shared parenting bill HB 1400 on ABC's Boston affiliate WCVB on Tuesday, June 22. The story also featured longtime F & F member Rob Derosier, who told WCVB about his long, hard fight to remain a meaningful part of his daughter's life after his divorce. To watch the story, click here.

WCVBABC's synopsis of the story is Divorced Fathers: Shared Parenting Best For Kids, Legislation Calls For Presumed Joint CustodyTo comment on the piece, click here.

From ABC's synopsis:
A bill before the Massachusetts legislature would change the direction of child custody decisions, making shared and equal parenting the norm.

DerosierWhen Rob Derosier (pictured, right) welcomed his daughter into the world 10 years ago, he never expected that after divorce he'd become a mere visitor in her life.

"It's the first time you have to drive up to a house and pick her up, and then drive up to the house and drop her off," said Derosier. "That's when it really hits home, when you realize your daughter really isn't yours anymore."

From the outset, Rob asked the court for joint physical custody, but his ex-wife received it [full custody]. Rob spent years seeing his daughter for 2 hours a week, every other weekend, and on summer vacations.

"I found that no matter what I tried to do to convince the court that I was a fit parent and my daughter should spend equal time with me, there was no avenue to getting that done," said Derosier. "No matter what I tried to do, it was a dead end."

Ned Holstein, founder of Fathers and Families, said the courts have been locked too long in an unmovable belief that mothers should have sole physical custody.

"Courts are still stuck in an old-fashioned, archaic one parent mentality instead of two parents for children after there is divorce, and there's no need for it," said Holstein.

His organization is pushing a bill on Beacon Hill that would establish the presumption of "equally shared parenting in divorce." If the judge believes joint custody is not in the best interest of the child, he must put those reasons in writing.

"They need to be nudged a bit into the 21st century," he said.

But the bill has powerful detractors, including the Massachusetts Bar Association. In a statement to NewsCenter 5, they said "each custody case is unique and requires judges to consider a multitude of factors in determining custody."

Holstein said the bill does not tie the judges hands. "There are complexities, situations where joint custody is not the right thing."
To learn more about our shared parenting bill, click here.

Boston College Researchers Slam Slate Article Claiming Fathers Lie About Parenting
By Robert Franklin, Esq.

It seems I'm not the only one to criticize the Slate piece entitled "Why Do Dads Lie on Surveys About Fatherhood?" (Slate, 6/17/10). In fact, the article has received such a storm of complaints that the author, Katherine Lewis, has posted her own comment to it, trying to make a silk purse and failing. First, she used a recent study done by Boston College researchers for the proposition that fathers lie when asked about their parental behavior. Here's the response to her assertion by the people who conducted the research.
"While we appreciate your time and attention to this topic, the study authors at the Boston College Center for Work & Family want to make it clear that our research never addressed nor did it imply that the fathers we interviewed were "lying" about the time spent with their children. On the contrary, in the interviews we conducted we were impressed with the earnest and heartfelt commitment expressed by these men toward their families and their new role as fathers. As a qualitative research study, we sought to chronicle these men's personal experiences as fathers and professionals. While we did not validate their self-reported estimates of time spent in parenting activities through other sources (e.g. their spouses or direct observation) as one might do in a time-use study, that was never our intent. We therefore [have] no basis to state that these numbers are accurate or inaccurate.

Our hope was that our research would provide a view into the quiet revolution that is taking place as men become more highly engaged in parenting. We believe all of us should be supportive of the efforts of these men and hope research like ours will lead to more equitable treatment of all workers as they deal with the challenges of balancing their professional and personal lives. To infer that our study is about how men misrepresent their parenting role is out of touch with our intent and in no way reflects our findings. We encourage readers to access the full study report here.
Stated more bluntly, it's a lie to say that their study was about men lying about their parental behavior.

Now, to be scrupulously honest myself, Lewis never said in so many words that the study was about dads lying. But what it did do (and, I would argue, intentionally so), is leave that impression. That's what happens when a writer entitles her piece, "Why Do Dads Lie on Surveys About Fatherhood?", leads off with the study, and then moves into the phenomenon of aspirational lying. If you don't believe that's the impression the piece leaves, just ask yourself, "Why did the Boston College researchers feel the need to post a comment describing what their research actually does as opposed to what Lewis suggests?"...

In Lewis' comment to her piece, she claims, "I'm surprised at the perception that this piece was an attack on men."

Well, Ms. Lewis, that's what happens when you call people liars in the headline of your article. It makes them angry. Toss in a little intellectual dishonesty of the sort I pointed out in my first piece, and they get angrier still. Read more here.
MA Legislative Action Alert
MA Action Alert: Write Judiciary Committee in Support of HB 1400; Holstein Discusses Shared Parenting Bill on ABC Boston

Please send a letter in support of HB 1400, Massachusetts's Shared Parenting Bill, to Keith McFarland in Joint Judiciary Committee Chairman Eugene O'Flaherty's office. To write your letter or send our form letter, please click here. We will hand deliver your letters to O'Flaherty's office this week.

We have been successful in getting HB 1400 extended while many other bills have died, but we need to get the bill out of the Judiciary Committee. HB 1400 will help Massachusetts' children--to learn more about the bill, click here.

We have been getting major and often favorable media coverage on HB 1400. For example, last night Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S., Chair of the Board of Fathers and Families, discussed HB 1400 on ABC's Boston affiliate WCVB. The story also featured longtime F & F member Rob Derosier, who told WCVB about his long, hard fight to remain a meaningful part of his daughter's life after his divorce. To watch the story, click here.

Last week Holstein debated the bill on NPR's Boston affiliate WBUR--to listen to the debate, click here.

Over the past several weeks, both the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Massachusetts' 3rd largest newspaper, published editorials on HB 1400, and Holstein's newspaper column Time for shared parenting appeared in theTelegram.

Together with you in the love of our children,

Glenn Sacks, MA
Executive Director

Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Chair of the Board

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It's Slate's Turn to Denigrate Dads

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Volunteer Testimonial

"Facts show those younger children whose parents have equal shared custody are doing better emotionally, psychologically, academically and socially. Unfortunately, the Connecticut family court system has always been about one parent winning, and the other losing. Working with National Parents Organization we can help create an Equally Shared Parenting Task Force in the Connecticut Legislature. The purpose would be to create a law that would improve the lives of our children by experiencing direct support, love, and care from both parents and extended families."

By Paul Schaffer, Member, Connecticut Executive Committee