"Ask yourself this: 'Which of
your two parents was a better parent than the other?' "This
impossible question is asked each day in numerous divorce courts across our state."--Fathers & Families supporter Joris Wils, a registered Democrat from Acton Fathers & Families
' recent Massachusetts Democrats campaign was a success, as members attended 20 of the Massachusetts Democratic Party's Platform Hearings held around the state and urged the Party to adopt Shared Parenting. Moreover, roughly 100 Fathers & Families members and supporters who are registered Democrats submitted their testimony to be considered by the Massachusetts Democratic Party in revising its Platform via http://massdemsplatform.blogspot.com
. Massachusetts is a very difficult state for fathers, one of the worst in the nation. The entrenched forces against us--principally the misguided women's groups and domestic violence coalitions (along with the attorneys' groups)--oppose Shared Parenting, and won't be moved easily. However, the structure of these Platform Hearings gave some of the leaders of the Democratic Party the opportunity to go over these entrenched groups' heads and talk directly to the people. What they heard was that people want Shared Parenting, just as in 2004 when Fathers & Families
successfully led a Massachusetts Ballot Initiative which won 86% of the popular vote. Below we've selected some of the best of the written testimony
to be considered by the Massachusetts Democratic Party in revising its Platform. Shared Parenting so dominated the testimony submittal process that in searching for comments to use, I didn't even need to use a search term like "shared parenting," but instead just reviewed all the testimony. Fathers & Families
supporter Joris Wils, a Consulting Engineer at Coriolis Networks and a registered Democrat from Acton, writes:
Ask yourself this: "Which of your two parents was a better parent than the other?" This impossible question is asked each day in numerous divorce courts across our state. The judge attempts to allocate the children to one parent or the other. The real question should be: "Is either parent unfit? If neither, then what schedule shall there be so that the children get ample access to each parent?" As such, our party's platform should be: "We support the fundamental right of a child to have ample access to each of its parents in cases of separation and divorce."
Ella, a Fathers & Families
supporter who describes herself as "As an adult child of divorced parents who has lived the pain of a nasty custody/child support battle" writes:
I feel the state needs to step in and enforce issue of shared parenting since it seems no one else will. Judges are so quick to give the rights to the mother without fully investigating the situation. If the mother is receiving adequate child support, the legal system seems to think the child will be provided for. It's simply not always the case. Often times the children become pawns in the divorce, being used as a bargaining chip and are withheld from the fathers. There are many fathers who should be given a larger percentage of time with their children...Fathers have just as important of a role to play in raising children, and yet the state seems to be turning a blind eye to it. Stop just giving the full support to moms when there are plenty of men who would love the chance to share in their children's lives. We really need to do something about this.
In arguing for Shared Parenting, Fathers & Families
supporter David R. MacDonald, in words which millions of divorced dads would echo, made a simple but critical point: "I love my children as much as their mother." We will keep supporters abreast of further developments. To see previous Fathers & Families postings, click here