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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

Fathers and Families activists testified in favor of our shared parenting bill (H02684) last Wednesday. The bill, lead sponsored by Representative John Scibak, supports children and strengthens families by creating a rebuttable presumption of shared parenting in divorce cases, so that children can sustain their loving relationships with both parents. Fathers and Families member Jules Remenar, a Research Fellow at the Boston-area biotechnology company Alkermes, testified in favor of H02684. Remenar said:
[D]ivorce lawyers...told me that pursuing shared physical custody of my children in the court system would cost at least $50k….that I must prove to the court that I am a fit and capable parent….that gathering the proof is expensive…..and that even with proof, there was no guarantee that the judge would agree... Imagine being told you have to pay $50K just for a chance to be considered a parent instead of a visitor...for having equal time with your children.  That money could be used for beds, books and bikes for my sons in a new home, for trips to see grandparents, it could even be saved for part of a college education. Instead, the money evaporates as you pay every imaginable fee simply to ask for what my sons and I know we want, and for what should be natural, obvious, and free……time together…equal time…time as a family unit with a role model,  responsibilities, and life lessons….not just appointments to play for a day or an evening.
Remenar's full testimony is below. To read others' testimony, click here. To learn more about H02684, see our campaign page, click here. Jules Remenar's Testimony in Favor of H02684 Good afternoon.  I am here to support the bill on Shared Parenting and to share my personal experience with the current system. When my wife decided to end our marriage two years ago,  I was devastated  by the thought of the emotional trauma my sons would suffer; they were 6 and 9 at the time.  It took them a full day after learning that I would have to leave to get up the courage to express their fears to me: "Are we ever going to see you again?'  Yes "When do we get to see you?' On weekends "Why only weekends?'   I don"t know They made it clear that they wanted me in their daily life…and I made it clear that I wanted them in mine and that their mother and I would discuss options.  I began to look for housing close to our existing home; somewhere they would be comfortable living part time.  I also began researching shared parenting arrangements that were appropriate for children in their age range….after all, their mother has a PhD in Chemistry and had only quit her job three years prior, and my employer offered me flexible arrangements to work from home when caring for my boys….so there was really no reason the children couldn"t have equal time with each of us. Then the disappointments began:  My wife informed the mediator that she had no intention of working, and the mediator informed me that "The State wants the children to be with their mother during the week so that you can work harder and make more money to send them.' I was shocked, thinking we"d found an out-dated mediator full of personal biases, so I took advantage of the free initial consultations offered by several divorce lawyers.  The first told me that pursuing shared physical custody of my children in the court system would cost at least $50k….that I must prove to the court that I am a fit and capable parent….that gathering the proof is expensive…..and that even with proof, there was no guarantee that the judge would agree.  Two more attorneys echoed the sentiments, though the dollar estimates were slightly different with each.  Even in this era of equal rights, it was made clear that the mother would not be held to these rigorous standards. Imagine being told you have to pay $50K just for a chance to be considered a parent instead of a visitor...for having equal time with your children.  That money could be used for beds, books and bikes for my sons in a new home, for trips to see grandparents, it could even be saved for part of a college education.  Instead, the money evaporates as you pay every imaginable fee simply to ask for what my sons and I know we want, and for what should be natural, obvious, and free……time together…equal time…time as a family unit with a role model,  responsibilities, and life lessons….not just appointments to play for a day or an evening. When sharing my story, people usually react with disbelief, mistakenly assuming that I just hired a bad lawyer….sadly, even I could not believe the truth about the court bias against equal parenting time for loving, dedicated fathers until it happened to me.  I am advocating this bill as a positive step toward fairness for children and equality for both parents after divorce.

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