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Fathers and Families

MA Action Alert; Dozen CA Newspapers Cover Bills F & F Helped Introduce
May 24, 2011
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MA Shared Parenting Action Alert: We Need Your Phone Calls

Hundreds of supporters of family court reform packed the Joint Committee on the Judiciary hearings last Wednesday. Numerous determined advocates of Fathers and Families’ Shared Parenting bill (H02684) testified–some waiting all day up to 10 PM at night to do so–and their words were powerful and engendered much agreement and sympathy.

Now we need you to:

Ned Holstein
Fathers and Families Board Chairman Ned Holstein, MD, MS testifying in favor of H02684.
1) Call your state representative and ask him or her to call House Chair Eugene L. O’Flaherty and Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo and ask them to pass the bill. The phone numbers and email addresses of all House members can be found here.
2) Call your state senator and ask him or her to call Senate Chair Cynthia Stone Creem and Senate President Therese Murray and ask them to pass the bill. The phone numbers and email addresses of all Senators can be found here.

3) Tell us what your representative or senator said by emailing us.
Activism is not a spectator sport–we need your calls to help overcome the special interests that are arrayed against us. Women, grandparents and children of divorce are especially needed–we urge you to ask your spouses, parents, siblings and friends to call, too.

We’ve built widespread support for shared parenting among legislators–30% of whom signed on as cosponsors of shared parenting legislation–and with the Governor. But shared parenting is being bottled up in committee by a handful of ideologues–we need your help to get it out.

To read the testimonies of Dr. Holstein and Fathers and Families’ members Deanna Marchand, Jules Remenar, Michael Burgraff, Howie Simon, and others, click here.

We also thank F & F member Richard Fucillo for his skilled legislative work in support of the bill, as well as the many others who attended and in some cases testified, including Roy Corbeil (a grandparent), Terry Brennan, Harris Allen, Tom Hanks, David Harbison, Robert Gada (with his baby), John Peterson, Kevin McCarthy (with his 4-year-old boy), and others.

We know of only two people who testified against shared parenting, one of whom represented the Family Law Task Force.

A Repudiation of the Massachusetts Family Court System

Deanna Marchland
Fathers and Families member Deanna Marchand testifying in favor of H02684.
Another positive that came out of Wednesday’s hearing was progress on S00665, an alimony reform bill. In Massachusetts, divorced fathers are often saddled with lifetime alimony, as judges are forced to either order alimony without an end or no alimony at all.

Fathers and Families has worked legislatively and in the PR area for a decade on this issue, and in recent years the group Massachusetts Alimony Reform has done excellent work to resolve this problem. There appears to be a consensus in the Judiciary Committee that Massachusetts Alimony Reform’s S00665 will pass.

This is a very positive development in itself, but there’s more. Paula Carey, the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court, has long publicly held that the legislature need not meddle into family law, as the family court system can and does correct itself. Yet the alimony situation has been a long-running train-wreck which Carey, the family court system, and the higher courts couldn’t or wouldn’t fix. The fact that the legislature has had to intervene directly to fix this problem serves as a repudiation of the Massachusetts family court system and the higher courts, and could open the door to more reforms.

As Dr. Holstein noted during his testimony, “Shared parenting is overdue. We seem to be about to take care of the money [via the alimony bill]; now let’s take care of the kids.”

To learn more about Shared Parenting bill H02684, including a short summary, a detailed summary, and the full text of the bill, please visit our Massachusetts Shared Parenting page here.

To contribute financially to support Fathers and Families’ work on H02684 and Shared Parenting, please click here.

Together with you in the love of our children,

Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder, Chairman of the Board

Glenn Sacks, MA
Executive Director


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F & F in the News
Dozen CA Newspapers Cover Bills F & F Helped Introduce

Syndicated California political columnist Dan Walters has written a column on Senator Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) and several bills Fathers and Families helped Wright introduce. The column has been published in the Sacramento Bee and a dozen other California newspapers.

Walters covers spousal support reform bill SB 481 and also the battle to fix California’s paternity laws. Walters writes:
Senate Bill 481 would require divorce court judges “to consider the extent to which income for support was already capitalized and paid to the other spouse in the division of community property, in order to avoid double counting the income when the result would be inequitable.”

Wright says it’s aimed at “double-dipping” for ex-spouses receiving alimony, and if enacted, the bill could result in lower alimony payments. While Wright has support from the State Bar, he has drawn strong opposition from feminist groups, renewing their old conflict with him over rules of the divorce game.
The National Organization for Women has come out against SB 481, and we’re embroiled in a major political battle in Sacramento over it. We’ve lined up a great deal of support from influential California political organizations who realize that this is not a gender issue, but is instead an issue of fairness.

We’ve helped build a consensus that reforming California’s spousal support system is best for all, including the many successful women business owners and executives who are sometimes exploited by unfair spousal support laws, just as men often have been.

SB 481 comes on the heels of SB 1482, an alimony reform bill we helped pass last year. SB 1482 allows some alimony obligors to obtain court orders requiring vocational examinations for their exes and mandates that judges follow the exams’ findings when determining spousal support levels.

Walters’ piece also covers our political battle over paternity fraud. Earlier this year F & F worked with Wright to introduce two new paternity fraud bills (SB 377 and SB 375) into the California legislature.

Walters’ full piece can be seen here. To comment on the piece, click here. To write a Letter to the Editor, write to [email protected].

2 Ohio Newspapers Write Editorials in Favor of F & F-Inspired Bill

Columbus Dispatch
The Columbus Dispatch has endorsed HB 121, a bill to protect military parents’ child custody rights which is modeled in part on AB 2416, which we helped pass in California last year.

In addition, the Times Leader Editorial Board endorsed Ohio HB 121 in its recent editorial Patriot Parents (5/23/11).

The Times Leader commended the Ohio House for passing “a bill that closes a legal loophole which stripped many military parents one of their most basic rights - the right to maintain a relationship with their children.” They noted:
The bill was modeled in part on legislation the organization Fathers and Families has helped pass in other states, including California.

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