Should Massachusetts investigate overhauling its custody laws?
From the Boston Globe:
Several times, a bill calling for what is known as “shared parenting’’ — which would create a legal presumption for joint custody — has been introduced in the Legislature, and failed.
The debate has often been passionate, as divorce proceedings can be, and it has sometimes turned ugly. Some proponents of the bill, who claim that the family court system is biased against fathers, have launched ad hominem attacks against opponents. Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t created a receptiveness to compromise.
But the Legislature has recently provided a model for compromise on deeply felt issues: the task force on alimony, which met for more than a year, and resulted in the passage last fall of a sweeping overhaul of state alimony laws. The state can – and should – follow the same approach to modifying custody laws by bringing together responsible advocates on both sides. It’s time to break the contentious impasse on an issue that’s already painful enough for every party involved.
There’s something about vigorous, fact-based investigation of proposed legislation that just stirs the old-fashioned Democrat in me. Not spin or positioning or phony electoral horse-race framing, just sober-minded legislators doing thorough and careful work to determine whether a proposed law truly serves the public interest. Yeah, that’s an oversimplification, but allow me my momentary Frank Capra reverie.
I don’t know enough about Massachusetts law or policy to say whether this law would be a big win for fathers in the Bay State, or whether it’d be a nightmare of potential misuse. But that’s where I stand with this editorial: I don’t have to know. Appoint a task force, and they’ll find out. Mmmmm, the sweet taste of properly-conducted due process…