Hillary on “Best Interest of the Child;” News Flash from Florida; Critical Moment in Massachusetts

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March 8, 2016

NPO Logo National Parents Organization improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting every child's right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.
Tipping Point in Massachusetts
By Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Acting Executive Director, National Parents Organization

Your Call Will Make the Difference

Do you feel helpless to change the family courts of Massachusetts? Do you feel you can’t fight the system? You’ve spent $80,000 on legal fees and all it got you was every other weekend?

This is the moment when you CAN change the system. Two critical issues hang in the balance this week in Massachusetts. If you call your legislators on Beacon Hill RIGHT NOW (details below) - and get a couple of friends or family to do the same - you can topple mountains. And you can support two crucial bills with one call!

First is our terrific shared parenting bill, known as S834. This bill means that every fit parent would get at least one-third of the parenting time. Also, for the FIRST TIME, negative behaviors by parents would have consequences, such as creating needless conflict or refusing to cooperate with the other parent, knowingly making false accusations, undermining the relationship between the child and the other parent, or defying the parenting time orders.

S834 has a lot of support and momentum on Beacon Hill. But it is opposed by the bar associations -- the lawyers. And its fate hangs in the balance right now in the Judiciary Committee.

Please call your STATE SENATOR TODAY and ask him/her to support S834. You can find out the name and phone number of your senator HERE.

This is your message when you reach your senator or his/her legislative aide: “Please call the Co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee and urge them to move S834 out of committee without change. Please support the best interest of children, not the best interest of lawyers.”

That’s all you have to say. They don’t expect you to be an expert on the details of the bill.

It is especially important that you make this call if your Senator is Patricia Jehlen, William Brownsberger, Sonia Chang-Diaz, John Keenan, or Cynthia Creem, all of whom are voting members of the Judiciary Committee. (Brownsberger and Keenan are the Co-chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee.)

It is fine to call your House Representative too if you wish, but we believe that the bill is stronger there. Better to concentrate your energy on getting several people to call their senators.

Next: Alimony reform also hangs in the balance, in the same committee! So you can kill two birds -- ur, pass two bills-with the same phone call by supporting both shared parenting and alimony reform. Read more...

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Terrific News Flash from Florida
By Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Acting Executive Director, National Parents Organization
Around 11 AM on Tuesday, we learned from National Parents Organization leader in Florida Troy Matson that the omnibus family law reform bill that includes alimony reform and the premise of equal time (CS/CS/SB 668) passed the FL Senate last week, and was just passed by the Florida House by a vote of 74-38. It will now go to Governor Scott for (hopefully) his signature.

Troy states, “The legislation calls for a ‘premise that a minor child should spend approximately equal amounts of time with each parent.’ Additionally, the bill calls for a judge to produce written findings to support the parenting plan s/he is ordering.” The bill also includes important alimony reform provisions.

National Parents Organization continues to advance shared parenting around the country!

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Hillary Skeptical About “Best Interest of the Child”
By Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Acting Executive Director, National Parents Organization
What does “best interest of the child” (BIC) actually mean? After all, this concept is at the heart of almost all family law.

If a child ”borrows” a bicycle and then hurts herself crashing into a fire hydrant, is the best interest of the child to punish her for taking the bike, or to comfort her for her scrapes and bruises? Is it in the best interest of the child to be a Catholic like her father or a Protestant like her mother? Or no formal religious training? Should a child be loaded with music lessons, gymnastics, and the debate club, or should he be allowed to find his own way with more free time? Is it a good idea to let your children be “free range children?”

Parents spend sleepless nights trying to figure out answers to questions like these. And the truth is there is no clear answer to most such questions unless you know the child intimately, as a parent does, and even then it is often unclear.

So how can a judge, who would not recognize your child on the street, make decisions about the “best interest of the child?” Yet that is what they are charged to do every day in family court.

You and I are not the only ones to wonder whether the BIC is an empty phrase that simply allows the judge to do whatever she wants with your children. Read more...

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About Us
National Parents Organization
PO BOX 590548
Boston, Massachusetts 02459
(617) 542-9300

[email protected]
Information Resources

> Share Your Story:

Members share stories of their children and families.
> Advice:
Our most frequently asked questions are posted with answers from experts.
> Forms and Documents:
Many forms and documents are common to many cases in your state or even across the United States.

Establish an Affiliation in Your State

National Parents Organization is working to build a strong affiliate in every state. What will it take to bring National Parents Organization to your state? Leadership. It takes a team of volunteers to organize in your state and to reach out to legislators, media, and other groups who will work with us to make shared parenting the norm.

If you are ready, please contact Ned Holstein, National Interim Executive Director. Together we can build an affiliate in your state.

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Volunteer Testimonial

“Everyone complains of absentee fathers, but it is so difficult to get the courts to allow joint custody, let alone full custody, or even court-ordered visitation that actually works in real life.

We are trying to do our part to help by working with these young men and bringing National Parents Organization to Pennsylvania”

Janet Graham
Kate and Richard Bayer, Members, Executive Committee, Pennsylvania

The opinions expressed herein are those of our guest authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Parents Organization or its Board of Directors.
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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