Saturday, March 04, 2006

NH custody reform

New Hampshire is considering a custody reform bill. I just got an email that says a prominent NH Family Law Attorney implores fellow industry profiteers:
They are bills sponsored by the "mad dads" and will pass if there is not a lot of rucus raised by the other side of the argument. They are so bad that we must make an effort to try to kill them. They passed the House because no one showed up for hearings to oppose them! has an inline rebuttal. It looks like the "mad dads" are doing some good work.

The rebuttal cites a state commission report. These are all pdf files. The report has a lot of info on state custody and child support policies. It says:
A primary focus of the Commission’s investigation was to determine the fairness and effectiveness of New Hampshire’s current legal and guidelines custodial presumptions. ...

Currently, the Court looks at what appears to be in the best interests of the child(ren). Unfortunately, there is no definition for the “best interests” of the child(ren), therefore leaving the Court to make these paramount decisions using his or her own personal beliefs, understandings and value systems. In the majority of custody orders, one parent is given primary physical custody leaving the other parent in a subordinate situation. Such a custodial situation can create inequality between parents and may have a very negative impact on the subordinate parent’s relationship with his or her child(ren). This feeling of inequality appears to grow as the subordinate parent’s relationship with his or her child(ren) fails to flourish at the same rate as the relationship of the parent enjoying primary physical custody. The result is a growing animosity, and often litigation, between the parents, which can have a serious negative impact upon the child(ren). ...

In reviewing these factors and considerations, a majority of the Commission determined that there should be a rebuttable presumption for the courts to initially consider both parents equal in their parenting abilities and start the custody determination with a 50/50 parenting arrangement.
The divorce lawyers will raise a ruckus, but it appears that NH is getting some good reforms.

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