Holstein Squares off Against Leading CS Officials on NPR

MA's 3rd Largest Paper Endorses F & F's Shared Parenting Bill

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Holstein Squares off Against Leading CS Officials on NPR; MA's 3rd Largest Paper Endorses F & F's Shared Parenting Bill
May 18, 2010
Top Stories
F & F's Holstein Squares off Against Leading Child Support Officials on NPR (Audio Available)

NPRThe call-in lines were jammed as Fathers & Families' Board Chairman Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S. debated two leading Ohio child support officials on NPR in Cleveland May 14.  To listen to audio of the show, click here. Dr. Holstein is on from 25:30 to 40:30. To comment on the NPR website, click here.

The show, The Sound of Ideas on Cleveland's NPR affiliate WCPN 90.3 FM is hosted by Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett.

Holstein debated Jennifer Bheam, the Director of the Summit County Child Support Enforcement Agency and John Galonski, Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Child Support, Summit County.

Holstein expressed Fathers & Families' view that while we believe all parents should support their children both emotionally and financially, the war on so-called "deadbeat dads" is often just a war against low-income/minority/hard luck fathers. This is particularly true in the recession.

Ned HolsteinHolstein illustrated this on the NPR program by reading the occupations of the "deadbeat" fathers on the Summit County child support officials' own website. In every case, the fathers are low income or unemployed, yet they supposedly owe large sums of money in back child support. Some of these men did not behave responsibly, but many others were victimized by problems within the child support system. One major problem is the difficulty child support obligors face in getting downward modifications after they have lost their jobs or suffered a drop in income.

Holstein also emphasized that fathers throughout history have worked hard and sacrificed enormously for their children, and that some of the fathers who do refuse to pay child support have done so in part because they feel they have been unfairly driven to the margins of their children's lives. Fathers & Families does not condone this behavior, but we do understand it, and we believe that protecting the loving bonds children share with both parents should be family courts' top priority.

To learn more about problems with the child support system in Ohio and nationally, see our column Ohio Pizza Box/'Deadbeat Dad' Campaign Unfairly Stigmatizes Fathers (Cincinnati Post, 4/2/07).

Worcester Telegram & Gazette
, MA's 3rd Largest Paper, Publishes Strong Editorial in Favor of HB 1400, F & F's Shared Parenting Bill

telegram"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 & 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...
Read the full editorial here. To post a comment on it on the newspaper's site, click here.
Massachusetts Child Support Action Alert
We need your help to lower interest on Massachusetts child support arrearages!

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue's Child Support Enforcement Division will hold a public hearing on a proposed regulation to lower interest on child support arrearages on Friday, May 21. The current interest rate on child support arrearages is an outrageous 18%.

Fathers & Families will be attending the Massachusetts Department of Revenue's hearing on child support interest. We need you there to support this needed change in current regulations.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Deputy Director Melissa Hodgdon via email or (617) 542-9300.

To view the Department of Revenue's announcement, click here.
What's Happening
New Zealand Dad in a Coma Still Has to Pay Child Support

NJ Court Says ‘Yes' to Civil Suits for Parental Kidnapping, False Claims of Abuse

TN: Single Dad Stops Adoption; To Get Custody of Daughter

Mom: 'We're all just one accusation away from the sex offender registry.'

Essay Review - 'Kangaroo Court: Family Law in Australia,' By John Hirst

Recommended Reading for New Yorker's Janet Malcolm - Police Say Mother Hires Hit on Father During Custody Fight
Kids & Dads
Hero Father Gets Hit by Car to Save Infant Son

Hero Father

Watch the MSNBC video here.
Are You a Disabled or Partially Disabled Parent?
If so, Please Let Us Know
Fathers & Families has joined with the American Retirees Association in co-sponsoring the disabled parents bill SB 1188, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 4.

If you are a disabled or partially-disabled parent, please fill out our form here. Your participation helps build our political strength and ability to make family court reform.
Join Fathers & Families
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Volunteer Testimonial

"For the last 10 years with help of organizations like “National Parents Organization,” parents like me, have worked against continuous opposition to reform the Hawaii Family Court away from the adversarial model toward a collaborative one. We need family courts that respect the importance of frequent, continuing and meaningful parenting time with both parents. Because effective parenting needs to have a sufficient quantity to achieve quality."

By Chris Lethem, Chair, Hawaii Executive Committee