Rally at CT’s Legislative Office Building, Wednesday, Feb 22

Please join shared parenting supporters in our effort to pass legislation reforming the family courts.

Where: the Lobby of the LOB, Hartford Connecticut

When: 4:30pm, Wednesday February 22, 2017

Who: Rep Minnie Gonzalez and the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.

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Support HB 6645: Shared Parenting is Good for Kids and Reduces Court Costs

The Connecticut Judiciary Committee is considering a bill establishing the presumption of shared parenting. The bill will encourage parents to stay focused on their children in custody disputes. Children can maintain good relationships with both parents if the courts operate with a strong presumption that equal access, time and decision making authority unless a parent is proven unfit. Court costs are reduced because parents seek mediation when they know that the court favors equal involvement.

Call the leaders of the Judiciary Committee telling them that you want this bill and related bills (HB6626 and HB6638) voted out of the Committee for hearings. This is a basic democratic principle. The public can’t be heard unless they hold hearings. Be sure to talk personally to their legislative aids and call Rep Joe Aresimowicz, Speaker of the House:

CT Judiciary Committee and House Speaker 2017
Speaker Joe Aresimowica D 860-240-8500, ask for Aide
Co-Chair Sen Doyle, Paul R. D 860-240-0475, Aide: David Seifel
Co-Chair  Sen. Kissel, John A. R (800) 842-1421, Aide: Kate McAvoy
Co-Chair Rep. Tong, William D (860) 240-8585, Aide: Adam Sciviano
Vice Chair Sen. Winfield, Gary A. D (860) 240-8585, ask for aide
Vice Chair Sen. McLachlan, Michael A. R (800) 842-1421, Aide: Amanda Zavagnin
Vice Chair Rep. Stafstrom, Steven D (860) 240-8585, ask for aide
Ranking Member Rep. Rebimbas, Rosa C. R (860) 240-8700, ask for aide

IMPORTANT: Send letters to each person, especially Democratic Leadership: Legislative Office Building, Hartford, CT 06106-1591 

For the full text of HB6645: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/TOB/h/2017HB-06645-R00-HB.htm

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Florida strongly encourages shared parenting

  • “There is no such term as “custody” in the Florida Statutes nor is there a primary or secondary residential parent designation in the Florida Statutes. In Florida, both parents have “time-sharing” with their children. The court will order a time-sharing schedule that is in the best interests of the children
  • Terms that reflect the type of time-sharing schedule include “majority time-sharing” and “equal time-sharing.”
  • If both parents enjoy equal time-sharing, then child support is still calculated using the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, which is dependent on the parties income, percentage time-sharing (only overnights are used for purposes of establishing the percentages), health insurance, and costs of daycare and uncovered medical expenses. As the payor’s percentage of time-sharing increases, the less he or she will pay in child support generally.
  • Historically, courts have favored mothers with regard to caring for children particularly with children in their “tender years.” However, Florida courts have abolished the tender years doctrine and the statutes do not favor one parent over the other based on gender.”

Source: Cordell & Cordell Law Firm.  http://cordellcordell.com/resources/florida/florida-child-custody-questions/

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Massachusetts Senate fails to pass shared parenting

A shared parenting bill passed the MA house in July 2016, but failed in the Senate. The key sentence supporting shared parenting:

“The general court finds that every child in the commonwealth has the right to a safe,          healthy and meaningful relationship with both parents, subject to the court’s                        determination of each child’s best interest, and encourages shared parental                        responsibilities.”

Do you agree that state legislatures should actively encourage shared parenting?

Should state legislatures strongly support shared parenting?
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Gwyneth Paltrow on divorce: “the children are our commitment.”

Gwyneth Paltrow says co-parenting with ex Chris Martin has been “hard” but that they have made their two their priority and commitment and have remained friends since their split.

The 42-year-old Oscar winner, who shares daughter Apple, 11, and Moses, 9, with the Coldplay singer, made her comments on Friday at the #BlogHer15 conference in New York, presented by SheKnows Media.

“I think, unfortunately, though we couldn’t stay in a romantic relationship, we’re very, our values are very much around the importance of family and the importance of those relationships and I’m lucky that we’re aligned in that way,” she said. “And it’s been hard, and you know, like, we’ve gone through really difficult times with it but we’ve always said these children are our priority.

“What that really means is, ‘Even though today, you hate me and you never want to see me again, like, we’re going to brunch, ’cause it’s Sunday and that’s what we’ll do!’ You know, like, ‘That’s what’s happening!'” she said. “Like, the children are our commitment.”

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Connecticut’s unrealistic child support awards-out of compliance

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has proposed that states revise unrealistically high child support guidelines. Details are at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css

OCSE proposes to update Federal regulations in § 302.56 that address State guidelines for setting child support awards. Highlights of changes proposed by OCSE:

  • Compliance with child support orders increases dramatically if the award is in the range of 15-20% of the noncustodial parent’s income.
  • Compliance helps custodial families achieve economic stability, and this is especially important to millions of low-to-moderate income families.
  • Consistent, predictable child support payments are important to families, and extensive research shows that realistic child support orders promote consistent payments.
  • “A growing body of research finds that compliance with child support orders in some States, regardless of income level, declines when the support obligation is set above 15–20 percent of the obligor’s income, and that orders for excessive amounts result in lower, not higher, child support payments.” (Federal Register, v79, no 221, p. 68554)

Unrealistic orders produce incarceration and unmanageable arrearages. This can lead to a downward spiral in the involvement of the non-custodial parent with his or her child. Walter L Scott, the black man recently shot and killed by police got behind on child support, and as a result he lost “the best job I ever had.” Then his life spiraled out of control, causing him to tussle with police before being shot in the back as he ran away from his unmanageable arrearages. Source: The New York Times, http://nyti.ms/1yJelpe.

Connecticut is out of compliance. Connecticut’s Guidelines that require up to 55% of income for child support; typical amounts are 25% to 35% of income – with substantial medical expenses added on top. When is the legislature going to address unrealistic child support orders?

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Dividends from Involved Dads – Benefits from Shared Parenting of Babies

The Economist, a highly respected weekly news magazine reports that “Chaildren whose fathers take even short spells of paternity leave do better (May 16th, 2015, p 54).” The Economist article covers parental leave policies – and the trend towards parental leave for both parents – in 185 countries. Nearly half these countries now offer new fathers short periods at home. Unfortunately, the US has one of the least accommodating policies, covering only a subset of women, and no men, with unpaid leave.

Why encourage both parents to spend time with their new baby? One reason is that women will then face less discrimination in hiring, since they will be able to return to work more quickly after giving birth. Their skills will not suffer from extended absence from the workforce, so their lifetime earnings improve. Secondly, dads who took time off are more likely to pitch in on basic child care like changing diapers, feeding, bathing and playing.

The patterns established early in the baby’s life persisted into childhood. The data suggest that school children with two involved parents benefit with better grades, lower truancy and fewer behavioral problems.

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Testimony Supports Less Need for Court Ordered Professionals

The SPC advocates amendments to Connecticut’s HB 5505 to reduce conflict by giving each parent an incentive to support the other parents. This implements CT’s 2005 law – other states (MA, MD and others) are implementing shared parenting. Here are the proposed amendments:

Purpose: establishing the presumption of behavior encouraging parental involvement

Sec. 4. Section 46b-56 of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (j) as follows (Effective October 1, 2015):

(new) (j) In cases involving an existing Parental Responsibility Plan (PRP), or any existing custodial order, statutory factors (6) and (7) of Conn. Gen. Sats 46b-56(c ) shall determine the resolution of any dispute. A pattern of noncompliance with existing custodial orders, or with an existing PRP provides evidence of unwillingness to foster a good parent-child relationship (violation of factor 6) and/or manipulative or coercive behavior (factor 7). Such pattern of noncompliance will result in a finding in favor of the other  parent.

Note: the relevant factors:

(6) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage such continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent as is appropriate, including compliance with any court orders;

(7) any manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parents’ dispute.

Rationale: to reduce litigation by establishing the primary role of behavior fostering a good relationship with the other parent.

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