By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The National Parents Organization’s Maryland affiliate is in the news.
Back in 2012, the Maryland Legislature created the Child Custody Decision Making Commission to gather information on how judges can best adjudicate custody, parenting time and other issues. It held five public hearings at which NPO - Maryland assisted in providing testimony. This year, the Commission released its findings to the state House of Delegates. Although there’s as yet been no legislation that’s come out of the effort, Aaron Bates of NPO – Maryland has hopes for legislative change.
Bates and NPO are also backing HB 0888 that would enact a presumption of shared parenting in the state. To that end, Bates appeared on WBAL in Baltimore to air his support for the measure. So far, the Legislature hasn’t acted on the bill.
Recently, Bates and NPO – Maryland have banded together with other smaller organizations each of which promotes family court reform. One of the most important ones is The Children’s Rights Fund that, along with NPO was instrumental in promoting the Child Custody Decision Making Commission. Their meetings have been productive and Bates hopes to bring their combined weight to bear on state lawmakers during the next legislative session. So far they’ve sponsored a free viewing of the excellent movie “Divorce Corp.” directed by Joe Sorge. (That movie is now streamable on Netflix and is a must-see.)
Bates plans to assemble the people who gave testimony to the Commission and video record their experiences with family courts in the state. That should happen later this year. NPO will provide a link to it on the blog and in the newsletter when that becomes available.
Last but not least, Bates and NPO – Maryland intend to start a support group for fathers who are involved in a custody case or have suffered the consequences of one.
Well done Aaron and everyone at NPO – Maryland!