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F & F's Robert Franklin Discusses Shared Parenting on Boston Radio
I did a two-hour radio interview on the Adam Bond Show on WXBR, AM 1460 radio in Boston on Thursday. The show was guest hosted by Charlie Lincoln, and was devoted almost entirely to shared parenting. Fathers & Families' HB 1400, which would promote a presumption of shared parenting in Massachusetts divorce and custody cases, was heard in committee that day. Back in 2004, Fathers & Families spearheaded a petition drive to get the issue of equally shared parenting on the ballot in the Bay State. Successful at that, Fathers & Families was successful as well at promoting the ballot initiative. No fewer than 86% of Massachusetts voters approved of the shared parenting referendum. Now it's up to the state legislature to enact it into law. Governor Deval Patrick has vowed to sign the measure if the legislature approves it. Charlie Lincoln is a friend of shared parenting and his questions allowed me to make the case as strongly and as cogently as I could. It was a call-in show, and some of the callers were very favorable to the concept of shared parenting. One caller, Sue, put forward an interesting idea. She said that a lot of people agree with the concept of shared parenting, but balk at the thought of children shuttling constantly from one house to another. That's true; a lot of people do raise that issue. Her suggestion was to have the children stay put and have the parents move in and out of the house as the custody order dictates. This idea--called "Bird Nesting"--is not one available to all parents, but is intriguing nonetheless. I strongly expressed what I believe to be true - that equally shared parenting is an idea whose time has come. Our approach now is failing; it fails children and it fails both custodial and non-custodial parents. Anyone arguing against shared parenting needs to explain how the current system is preferable. I don't think they can. I talked about shared parenting in European countries and in Australia and I mentioned the Canadian bill and its support by 80% of that country's citizens. I emphasized the value of both parents to children's welfare and how shared parenting promotes that. I explained that the current winner-take-all system is disliked by non-custodial mothers and fathers alike. Indeed, their objections to the syetem look remarkably similar. Above all, I tried to make it clear that equally shared parenting is first and foremost about the wellbeing of children. Its purpose is not to lessen the role of mothers, but to enhance that of fathers. Into the bargain, it should increase the role of women in the workplace by giving fathers more of a role at home.