The custody laws we have today state that the happiness and wellbeing of the children is the main factor to be considered by a court. Today, judges must put more emphasis on the children's happiness and wellbeing than their parents' rights.
The laws we have today also say the judge can only give custody to an abusive parent if there is a very good reason.
Some people want to change the laws. Last year they filed a bill (House Bill 1207) called “An act relative to child-centered family law.” This bill tried to make the laws more about parents' rights than their children's happiness and wellbeing. The bill was bad for children because:
- It was not about the children.
- It made judges pay more attention to parents’ relationships than the happiness and well-being of their children.
- It encouraged bullying parents to use the courts to harass you with false, baseless, and petty accusations.
- It made it harder for good parents to advocate for themselves in court.
The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee did not support the bill. Instead, they recommended that the Legislature pass a better bill that is also called “An act relative to child-centered family law,” (House Bill 4107).
Although House Bill 4107 is better, it still has problems:
- The language about how much time a child is with each parent is confusing.
- It still focuses on the parents’ relationship rather than the child’s needs.
- It allows parents to demand that the judge change their parenting plan if the other parent has not followed the plan.
- It requires parents to submit a detailed parenting plan every time they come to the court.
Keep up to date with the "child-centered" custody bill on the Custody Awareness Collaborative web site!