The Judiciary Committee just recommended a vastly improved “Act Relative to Child-Centered Family Law.” Survivor advocacy made a big difference!
The Committee did not recommend the version that the Custody Awareness Collaborative, domestic violence advocates, and survivors opposed. The bill they did recommend, called HB 4107, addresses many of the concerns raised by advocates and survivors.
Congratulations to all the many survivors who wrote letters, sent postcards, and met with legislators to tell them how the original bill harmed survivors and children affected by domestic violence and put parents’ rights over childrens’ well-being. Your efforts made a big difference!
Our work is not over, however.
CAC, advocates, and survivors will continue to reach out to legislators to insure that the incidence and impact of domestic violence on child and adult survivors play a proper role in deciding custody cases and to encourage dialogue about “child-centered” legislation. Although the revised bill has been improved, there are still several points of concern, including:
Confusing / contradictory wording in regard to the percentage of time a child would spend with each parent.
Some provisions in the Determination of Parental Responsibility section that continue to place the focus of decision-making on the relationship between the parents rather than the needs of the child.
The bill still retains a compliance section that allows for a temporary change in parenting plans based on non-compliance that does not use the "best interest" language.
The requirement that parents submit a detailed parenting plan every time they come before the court.
In the weeks to come, CAC will be publishing our analysis of the redraft including some areas that may continue to place children at risk. In the meantime, check out the bill itself and stay tuned for more information!