July 20, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
I’ve written before about the enactment into law of NPO’s excellent bill in Kentucky. HB 492 establishes a rebuttable presumption of equal parenting during the pendency of a divorce. Now, all temporary orders must be for equal or nearly equal parenting time unless good cause is demonstrated why another arrangement should be made. In that case, the judge has to explain in writing why unequal parenting time was ordered.
NPO is justly proud of this new law since, among other things, the template laid down in temporary orders is often followed in permanent ones. We’re also proud of NPO’s Matt Hale who spearheaded the effort. Matt did a fine job.
HB 492 passed unanimously in the Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee, but most interesting are the remarks by Senator John Schickel of Boone. He specifically cited Matt’s excellent work in getting the bill through the legislature. It’s been a four-year effort by Matt and NPO and I thought readers might want to know some of how Matt brought that about.
I talked to Matt recently and he told me that perhaps the most important single thing he did was to pick Senator Schickel out and attend his Town Hall meetings. There Matt would take the floor and talk about the values of shared parenting and the possibility of passing a shared parenting bill.
By attending those meetings, Matt gave Senator Schickel the opportunity to not only ask questions about shared parenting, but to see the support it had among his constituents. “That,” Matt told me, “was incredibly powerful.” The senator was also able to witness Matt’s mastery of the information on shared parenting. Some people at those meetings weren’t in favor of shared parenting or had questions about it. Matt’s ability to answer those questions made it clear to Senator Schickel that shared parenting is truly the best arrangement for both kids and parents, so, when it came time to vote on a shared parenting bill, he was prepared to do so.
Plus, Senator Schickel obviously approved of Matt’s approach. In the committee chamber, he touted Matt as having “fought tirelessly for families,” being “a real soldier” and finally thanking him for “supporting Kentucky’s families and fathers.”
In trying to pass shared parenting bills, all of us need to learn from Matt’s experience in Kentucky. He told me he always kept a low profile, emphasizing personal relationships with individual elected officials over more public tactics. The fact is that everyone promoting shared parenting legislation can do what Matt did. You can find your state representative or senator, go to their website, find out where and when they’re holding Town Hall meetings and go prepared.
It’s good advice that’s proven to be effective. Well done, Matt! And thanks for giving all of us such a good lesson in how the legislative game is played.
National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization
National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved? Here’s how:
Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.
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