Pass the Child Centered Family Law Bill

Today more than ever with families forming in so many manners, we need to make clear, that in the absence of abuse, that kids benefit from both of their parents after their parents separation and divorces.  This goes for all types of families.  Married parents, unmarried parents and same sex parents with possible no biological ties to their kids.  The bill that did not go through the last session was the most thought out bill to date.  It was not perfect and there is no way that all parties will like every aspect, but it pushed the Commonwealth, for the best interest of kids in the right direction.  Lets hope that in the new session that the Child Centered Family Law bill will pass both houses this time, not just the house and make its way to the Governors Desk.  Kids do not need to only grow up with one parent in their lives, they should be entitled to both of their parents. Too often the dad is the one who is thrown to the curb.  It is no wonder, middle aged men have the highest suicide rates.  If you were thrown out of your kids lives, you might understand that empty feeling that so parents, usually a dad feel after a divorce. It is one thing to be divorced from ones partner, it is another to be forced to also be divorced from ones kids that you love and too loved you.

7 replies on “Pass the Child Centered Family Law Bill”

  1. Peter,

    Last year, the bill produced by two years worth of work by the Governors Working Group was gutted by the House before being passed. That said, even a gutted bill wasn’t good enough for Senator Brownsberger as he expressed his concerns in The Patch Senator Brownsberger has been made aware both that 110 world experts have produced a very solid body of research which completely discounts his concerns but Senator Brownsberger feels he knows more about this subject than these noted Psychiatrists, Psychologists, child development experts, child attachment experts, etc. He’s been invited to the International Conference on Shared Parenting in May 2017 to publicly debate his concerns with this group and their considerable talents as it will be held in Boston. It will be most insightful to see if he attends. Personally, Senator Brownsberger told me “You’re just here because you had a crappy attorney” a comment the Senator won’t deny as he knows I have the emails to back it up. He played the perfect fool when informed the attorney who took me to Family Court was his predecessor on the Judiciary Committee, Senator Cindy Creem. As this was in a private meeting with Chief Justice Ordonez, it was meant to reassure the Chief Justice of his support and undercut my research showing serious problems with the Massachusetts Family Court. All this by way of saying, I wouldn’t expect and Shared Parenting bill to get a fair hearing from Senator Brownsberger. In a time when Massachusetts children desperately need Leaders, he’s but a politician.

    1. Mr. Brennan,

      Are you familiar with the concept of the straw-man fallacy? A person is guilty of the straw-man fallacy when he distorts or misstates his opponent’s position and then argues against the distorted, misstated position instead of arguing against the position his opponent actually espouses.

      Your assertion that Senator Brownsberger disagrees with and thinks he knows more than “110 world experts” with a “very solid body of research” is entirely baseless. In the op-ed to which you linked, Senator Brownsberger was quite clear and explicit about why he opposed the law under discussion, and it wasn’t for the reasons you claim.

      No one here — neither Senator Brownsberger nor anyone else — disagrees with the proposition that it is best for children to have relationships with both of their parents, absent other considerations which preclude that.

      Regarding your claim, “Personally, Senator Brownsberger told me ‘You’re just here because you had a crappy attorney’ a comment the Senator won’t deny as he knows I have the emails to back it up,” please feel free to post said emails. Absent such evidence, I and others are going to give the benefit of the doubt to a respected legislator whom we know to be a man of integrity. Since you’ve distorted Senator Brownsberger’s publicly stated position on this issue, it is reasonable for us to assume that you’ve also distorted what he has said to you privately.

      Mr. Brennan, I have very little interest in engaging in debate with you about this issue. However, I felt compelled to speak up in defense of Senator Brownsberger, just as I feel compelled to speak up whenever I see anyone being unfairly attacked and maligned. You may wish to consider the possibility that you would have a better chance of winning people over to your cause if you did not engage in such attacks.

      P.S. Just as the people reading this discussion are aware of Senator Brownsberger’s background, they are entitled to be aware of Mr. Brennan’s as well. Mr. Brennan, a man, bills himself as the co-founder of an organization called “Leading Women for Shared Parenting”, an organization which, incidentally, heralds Phyllis Schalfly [sic] as one of its early supporters.

      P.P.S. Here is some relevant reading, for those who would like to educate themselves more about this issue:

      1. I read Mr. Kamens comments. I too believe in civil discourse.

        I was on Governor Deval Patrick’s Working Group on Family Law that worked for two years to come up with the compromise bill which was the Child Centered Family Law Bill. On this committee were members of the Boston Bar, the Mass Bar, the LGBT Bar, the Woman’s Bar, the Child Advocate for the Commonwealth, a representative from the Domestic Violence Group and some fathers. There was also representatives from the House and Senate Judiciary. On the Senate side it was originally a representative from Senator Creem and when she was replaced, someone from Senator Brownsberger was invited to attend. In the end we came up with a bill.

        After we came up with the bill, it did not move forward at the tail end of Governor Patricks term and was brought up again during Governor Bakers term. There was some concerns of the Bar Associations with the bill so for three weeks we sat down with members of the House Judiciary Committee to try to iron out some of those differences and more compromises were made. The bill than passed the House at the tail end of the session and went to the Senate Side where it was not moved forward by Senator Brownsberger.

        If mistakes were made is that Senator Brownsberger was not in on our House negotiations, which in hindsight would have been the smart thing to do and if Senator Brownsbergers office had taken a more active role during the time that his office was included in negotiating on the bill.

        So I would say the Committee made some mistakes by not insisting on more input while the process was ongoing and when we were negotiating with the House Judiciary side for weeks before the end of the session that we did not insist that the Senate side be included.

        So I partially fault Senator Brownsberger, partially fault myself and my committee members for not insisting on not having that Senate input at the end when were in the throws of final negotiation.

        This bill and this work is SO important for kids, for families and yes, for fathers and mothers. Everyone benefits from having parents in their kids lives. The Commonwealth advertises that you do not have to be a perfect parent to be a parent. Sadly that paradigm goes out the window in the so called Family and Probate Court system. It creates winners and losers and it should only create winners for the kids and doing so would make sure that two fit parents can help to raise their children.

        In my opinion, this bill accomplished just that. Lets hope we can find a consensus with both the Senate and the House side in January and early to get this done. We owe this much to the children of our Commonwealth.

        1. I forgot to include that two Chief Justices of the Probate Court and the administrator for the Courts helped to put together the language in the Child Centered Family Law bill and signed off on the language of this bill.

      2. Mr. Kamens,

        My apologies for the lateness of my reply. Typically, I spend no time trolling the comments section of a blog as its not a good investment of time. I was informed of your reply and, despite your attempts to discourage me from answering, have decided to do so.

        Please know, my initial response was intended for but two people, Peter Hill and, the main reader of this small blog, Senator Brownsberger himself. As such, I have no intention, in this forum, of proving to you what the Senator said to me. The Senator knows what he said as do the other participants in the meeting, Chief Justice Ordonez and Governor Working Group appointee, David Calvo. While I’m highly confident the Senator is aware of what I’ve written above, just to ensure such, I’ll email him on both his senate and personal emails with this link. Perhaps that will make you more comfortable.

        The Senator can then choose his best course of action. He can acknowledge what he said and apologize (not likely as he wont publicly admit this treatment of a citizen), he can deny he said this (again not likely as I’ll come out with the emails), he can say he was “taken out of context” (likely as its a “way out” for him) or he can sit quietly and hope the issue will go away as he’s chosen thus far.

        The reason I’ll not invest the time here to prove to you, a single reader, of what the Senator said is that I’ve been thinking of writing a larger exposé on passing shared parenting laws which I would do on a larger platform. As we’ve recently had pieces in Time Magazine, US News & World Report, the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Naples Daily News, The Daily Caller, Des Moines Register, and other media platforms, I’m saving this material for larger outlets with more readers. I’ve been mulling this piece over for some time now, but you’ve convinced me to move it up on my agenda. Thank you for the motivation.

        A few other points.

        Senator Brownsberger is also aware, Guradian Ad Litems (GAL’s) have the ability to both morally and ethically abuse the public and there will be absolutely no recourse against them for such actions against citizens. Despite some GAL’s being reported multiple times by different citizens (where there’s smoke, there’s fire), Senator Brownsberger believes the best public policy we can have is to give GAL’s judicial immunity to abuse the public as long as the public is given a warning they are about to be abused, and they won’t have any recourse later.

        Senator Brownsberger is also aware that at least 96.2%, and more likely 98.5%, of those incarcerated by the Massachusetts Family Court are male. When he received this report, he held it aloft and said “What this shows is that we give custody to women”. What an amazing statement from the Senator. In part, this isn’t unusual as the top groups Americans believe experience bigotry in US Courts are the poor, African Americans, and Divorced Fathers. That said, for a Senator to acknowledge state sponsored bigotry, while simultaneously doing nothing about it, is noteworthy.

        Additional reports, given to Senator Brownsberger have proven there are literally no requirements whatsoever (educational, training, licensing, etc) to be a “Parent Coordinator” to the Mass Family Court; that the Governors Council has not voted down a nominated Family Court judge in at least 30 years; and that there has not been a single charge of perjury emanating from the Massachusetts Family Court in at least 4 years (and likely, much longer).

        Jonathan, I understand you are a strong partisan democrat, and that I’m being critical of a Democrat Senator, but does the above sound like a court system representative of the best public policy Massachusetts can have, or one in desperate need of reform?

        Regarding the Senator feeling he knows more than 110 world experts, I’ll let my rebuttal to his Op Ed speak for itself

        Finally, I found it a bit humorous that you thought it might somehow be harmful to point out both my gender and that Phyllis Schlafly was a proud member of Leading Women for Shared Parenting of which, I am a Proud Co-Founder. Why did I find such humorous? For several reasons. First, I’ve promoted Phyllis being an LW4SP member myself in a piece here: Now it seems rather silly to portray Phyllis being involved with LW4SP as something we’ve hidden when, in fact, we’ve publicly proclaimed such on a significant platform, but that wasn’t your real intent, was it? It was that Phyllis was “Right Wing” in her politics and you thought such would damage LW4SP on a “Left Wing” Senator’s blog. Such is obvious as you failed to mention that, of those who publicly identify as Democrat or Republican, LW4SP actually has more democrats at present, including (again, not mentioned by you) President Obama’s Champion for Fatherhood who recently joined as a Trustee. As he’s also a man (god forbid!), you can see we’re an organization which believes in women and men working together for the betterment of children, families and society. I understand, in an era of gender politics, such is unusual, but it represents who we are and we’re proud of such. Further, it shows those wanting to do what 110 world experts say is best for children come from both sides of the political spectrum (including former President of NOW, Karen DeCrow, again not mentioned by you). Leaders… not politicians.

        I found further humor that you added a “wikipedia” link to “men’s rights” somehow to an organization as a platform for women to show their support for what’s best for children (shared parenting) as women and men support shared parenting in equal numbers.

        Simply put, we advocate for Shared Parenting as Shared parenting is endorsed by 110 world experts, supported by 43 peer reviewed papers, favored by 70 percent of the population, and was the conclusion of the largest study on children of divorce, reviewing 150,000 kids. The 110 experts stated they’re “united in their concern that flawed science is leading to parenting plans and custody decisions that harm children.” Further, US Family Courts now create a Fatherless child every 60 seconds and many believe Fatherless, a problem linked to every major social pathology in children, is the top social issue in America.

        With such support, I deal with elected officials across the country, including some who oppose shared parenting.

        However, I will say I’ve not been treated as disrespectfully by any elected official anywhere (US or Internationally), as I have Senator Brownsberger. As a non-partisan proud independent, I have no emotional tie to either party, or incentive to make such a comment.

        Finally Jonathan, I would like to make you feel a little better, which perhaps could be achieved via and article I wrote which is critical of Republicans titled “Republicans Should Man Up on Fatherlessness”. Its here:

        Should you need “the last word”, by all means, take it. But know I’ll not invest further in this thread, so I’m not going to read it. Thank you.

        1. Terry, I’m unable to respond to all of your statements, but please do not take that for agreement or disagreement with any of them. But, for the record, I do not think you had a crappy attorney. I have no recollection of the comments you are referring to, and the most I can imagine myself saying on that subject would be something to the effect of if your attorney did as you say they did, that would not be good practice.

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