Letter: Weston Children benefit from
joint custody - Father Hunger
Thursday, June 22,
People need to be educated on the reality of divorce in
Massachusetts. This past November in Weston, and across many parts
of this state, voters approved by over 86 percent that in the event
of separation and divorce that children should be able to be raised
by both parents equally. People often asked, isnít this the norm?
Much to my and many peopleís amazement joint custody is not the norm
in Massachusetts, and in many parts of the country. Joint custody is
the norm when both parents put their kids first and they agree to
parent their kids jointly. However, when parents canít agree, or as
it is termed, there are custody issues, the courts intervene, and in
the majority of cases, primary custody is usually awarded to the
I read with interest The Weston Town Crier June 15
opinion article by Madeleine Jacobson, "Fathers and sons." I only
wish the title of her opinion article were "Fathers and sons and
daughters." I believe much of what Ms. Jacobson wrote about the
effect of absent fathers also applies to effects on daughters too
when fathers are absent.
A presumption of joint custody would reduce the litigation in
divorce situations. However, divorce is a huge industry in this
country. Litigation helps to destroy families, both emotionally and
financially. The Legislature, made up primarily of lawyers, some who
practice divorce law, are not willing to change a system that helps
to feed them. Many people do not know that the committee taking up
the bill on shared custody, here in Massachusetts, has many divorce
lawyers sitting on its panel. To many, this might appear as a
conflict of interest. It is.
Ms. Bellowsí story is of a boy whose parents divorced at 2. She
stated that Adam suffered from "father hunger." This "father hunger"
has been documented to occur not just in boys but in girls, too.
Here children long to have more contact with their dads. One would
think that society would do everything to encourage continued
contact with fathers. The reality is so far from the truth. Walls
are put up. It is equivalent to extortion. Legal moves, such as
motions, legal delays and many legal tactics, are often used to keep
fathers, and sometimes mothers, away from their kids. One just has
to go to the number of parent web blogs on the Internet to see how
pervasive this is. Alienation of kids from fathers and mothers too
is more prevalent than many of us can believe or comprehend.
The last paragraph of Ms. Jacobsonís article is the most
telling. She correctly states that "Men no longer are just the
providers and protectors of their families leaving the child care to
women. They are also nurturers providing a different quality of care
than their wives."
Boys and girls of divorced families need both their mom and
their dads. I urge you to speak to our local State Sen. Susan Fargo,
D-Lincoln, and Rep. Alice Peisch, D-Wellesley. Tell them to pass the
shared parenting bill. Tell them kids do need a mom and a dad. Legal
maneuvers that keep children from one parent of the other are not in
the best interest of kids. Kids do suffer from "father hunger," and
sometimes in some cases "mother hunger." Tell everyone, kids really
do need and benefit from two fit parents in their lives.
Peter G. Hill