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.  

July 21, 2015

Important Instructions on How to Testify

If you care about the reform of Child Centered Family Law in Massachusetts, I urge you to testify before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, starting at 1:00 in the afternoon on July 22, 2015, at the State House in Boston.” As the room location could change, I suggest you ask Security where to go when you get there.

Due to the fact that you are required to sign in to testify, it is a good idea to get there early. I will be there by noon.

Wear something red. This can be a shirt, a tie, a sweater, or anything else not offensive. When the members of the Judiciary see so many people wearing red in support of SB834 is has a great impact on their decisions.

This will be a major event, with media present, and we expect testimony to continue well past midnight. Please be prepared to stay at least until you to testify. There will be signs and name tags available from NPO identifying your support for SB 834 Child Centered Family Law Reform.

It is most important that we have as many people as possible planning to testify or be in attendance for support. Family and adult children are welcome and very effective.

Please prepare a written draft of your testimony. This draft should include your situation (factual, not fanciful), and bring at least 20 copies to hand out to members of the Judiciary.

Your testimony should include some or all of the following:

Begin by thanking the Chairs of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, (Senator Brownsberger and State Rep. Fernandes) for taking the time to hear your concerns. It was the previous Gov. Patrick who, created Commission that did its job by drafting SB 834. Now the Judiciary needs to do theirs and move it forward with a favorable recommendation.

Please reference one or two sections of Senate Bill 834 and how it would [or will, if passed] address or resolve fairly, your particular situation. Talk about the inability to spend the special time with your children, and how it is negatively affecting your life, and the life of your loved ones.

Keep in mind that your oral testimony is limited in duration to 3 minutes.

Important Points:
  1. Children do better when they have more time with each parent.

  2. The bill contains child friendly language

  3. The proposed bill preserves judicial discretion.

  4. The impact on the state budget is “zero”.

  5. The proposed bill has broad support as indicated by almost 50 co-sponsors.

  6. The bill puts the emphasis on the children instead of the parents.

  7. Anything else you feel appropriate about the need to reform the current law.
What matters most:
  1. Your facts — accuracy is a must!

  2. Reference the applicable section(s) of the Bill SB 834

  3. Be sincere — Look the people on the Judiciary in the eye as you speak.

  4. Do not read your statement — use of a few notes on a card is ok.

  5. Bring at least 20 copies of your written testimony to distribute to the Committee.
Please understand that we are before State Reps and Senators asking them for a positive vote on our bill. They did not create current law; they are the one body we must convince to join us in effecting reform
  • The names of the judge(s) and attorneys in your case are not relevant and should not be mentioned.

  • You may dislike divorce attorneys and/or Probate judges in general. Expressing those feelings is absolutely not appropriate and should not be mentioned.
You may call Steve Hitner at any time with questions. His phone number is: 508-335-0069

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