Honorable Judiciary Committee Member,
I am writing to urge passage of Shared Parenting bill S 855.
I support S 855 because it protects children's right to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents after divorce. Research clearly establishes that when fit parents come before the family law court with equal rights to and responsibilities for their children, the outcomes are much better for children emotionally, educationally, and financially.
Massachusetts children of divorce often see one of the two people they love most in the world, most of the time their father, pushed to the margins of their lives. S 855 protects the critical bonds children share with both their parents by making it clear that fit parents come before the family law court with equal rights to and responsibilities for their children.
I was there when my son was born and for the first two and a half years of his life I spent a lot of wonderful time with him, my only child. Then his mother decided that she did not want to be married to me any more. For the year and a half of separation I was exceptionally fortunate to have a judge award me two days a week and every other weekend with my son
There had been no abuse of any sort and I was clearly a fit parent but, because several lawyers told me my chances of getting shared custody were slim to none, I had reluctantly signed a Separation Agreement that included my wife having physical custody of our son, with joint legal custody and my son being with me every other weekend and two afternoons a week with a weekday overnight.
We went to court with this signed legal document only to have the judge tell us "I am not going to allow that, it's not good for the child". We were forced to re-negotiate and, after over $50,000 in attorney's fees, today I have my son only one afternoon a week for four hours and on every other weekend. The resultant acrimony has permanently marred our parenting relationship.
Subsequent to the divorce, the court has allowed my ex-wife to ignore the provisions of joint legal custody and I have been marginalized as a parent regarding decisions about my son’s education, activities and medical care. My son is now eight years old and frequently asks why he can’t be with his father more.
I urge passage of S 855 so Massachusetts children will be able to have two fully involved parents loving, guiding and protecting them, even after divorce.
John G. Huber
45-C Liberty Square Road
Boxborough, MA 01719
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