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Fathers & Families News Digest July 15, 2005


July 15, 2005



This is a news digest, not a compilation of opinion. Fathers & Families takes no position on the stories reported here unless the context clearly indicates so.




New Research on Restraining Order Bias


A new study in the June issue of the Journal of Family Violence shows a correlation between gender and outcome in 209A restraining order issuances. The study has found, among other things, that "Women were 38% more likely than men to be granted an emergency protection order at an ex parte hearing" and "Women were 32% more likely than men to be granted a new restraining order when protection was pursued at the follow-up10-day hearing." When the couple shares a child, men are 110% more likely to be evicted. The study was done in Gardner district court.


Go to Abstract for Article



SJC Ruling on Parental Rights and Child Support


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that when a father gives up his parental rights, he may still have a duty to pay child support. An Essex County man had consented to have his infant daughter adopted when the child's attorney attempted to petition the court for child support payments. The state's highest court affirmed the order for child support.


Go to SJC Opinion



Massachusetts Also Has Father Registry


Fathers & Families recently mentioned New Mexico's putative father registry in one of our weekly news digests. It has been brought to our attention that Massachusetts has a similar registry maintained by the Department of Social Services. Claims can be submitted by filling out a form from DSS. The registry allows would-be dads to register in order to secure their future rights as fathers


Go to see the Text of the Law





Bill Would Allow for 'Virtual Visitations'


A man in Wisconsin is pushing for a bill that would allow judges to include "virtual visitation", such as video- conferencing, in divorce cases. The same man has helped passed similar legislation in Utah where he resided before he moved to Wisconsin to be closer to his daughter. The Wisconsin bill includes language to ensure that judges don't replace actual visitation with virtual visitation or use them as an excuse for a move-away.


Go to Virtual Visitation Story





Australian Schools Can't Handle Divorced Parents


Australia seems to be facing problems similar to those just resolved in Massachusetts. Public schools there are unequipped to deal with divorced parents when it comes to keeping both of them involved. "A common complaint of nonresidential parents is that they have reduced or no access to information such as school reports, school photos and important events such as sports days or parent-teacher nights." Advocates are currently working to reform the system.


Go to Australian Story



Scottish Bill Would Recognize Rights for Unwed Fathers


A bill in Scotland would automatically give unmarried fathers basic rights and responsibilities if passed. The Scottish Executive's Family Law Bill has gained the support of an influential group of MSPs, but still needs to get through the justice 1 committee before it goes any further. The details have not yet been worked out, but committee said the bill would introduce "basic legal safeguards" without giving them the same status as marriage or civil partnerships.


Go to the Scotsman Story



Spain to Pass New 'Gender Equality' Law


The Spanish parliament is set to pass new legislation that would change marriage contracts to include promises of equal housework, childrearing, and elderly care. Such state-imposed mandates when it comes to marriage contracts could spell trouble for divorce and custody rights. According to The Australian, "judges will now consider men's commitment to this pledge when ruling on separations and child access." Interestingly, the legislation does not require both parties to share in work outside of the home. This comes just a week after Spain's draconian legislation on domestic violence.


Go to Spanish News Story



Chile to Increase Power to Use DNA Testing


A new law in Chile will allow the courts to order that men undergo DNA testing in paternity disputes. If a man refuses a court-ordered test, then he will automatically be given legal responsibility for the child. The new law should clear up any paternity confusion in Chile where more than 10% of children do not have legally recognized fathers.


Go to BBC Story





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Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.

Fathers & Families

phone: (617) 542-9300



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