Roberge, others helped defeat custody bill
Jeff Creteau, Amherst
Currently, shared parenting or joint custody is only awarded in 16 percent of divorce cases. According to studies by the American Psychological Association, â€œA major advantage of joint custody may be its ability to address the high rate of current father absence subsequent to divorce. Joint custody has been correlated with increased father involvement.â€
Another benefit is that there is â€œdecreased re-litigationâ€ with shared parenting, and less conflict between spouses in general.
Legitimate research overwhelmingly confirms that 50/50 joint physical custody is the arrangement that is in the childâ€™s best interest.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy and criminality. By contrast, children whose fathers are involved in raising them do better in school, are less likely to get in trouble with the law, and are more likely to be better parents themselves.
Thus, research proves what common sense would suggest. Shared parenting results in greater father involvement, more financial support, less litigation and happier children.
Recently, a bill was introduced in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the Senate. The bill was called HB 529. The House overwhelmingly supported it.
This bill would have required the family courts in this state to treat each parent in an equal and comparable manner. This bill would have also required the family courts to make detailed findings on the record of the evidence it relied upon to separate the children from one of their parents.
Doesnâ€™t the Constitution require everyone to be treated equally? It does, unfortunately the family court system in this state does not treat everyone equally.
State Sen. Sheila Roberge, R-Bedford, with Sens. Bob Odell, Joe Foster, D-Nashua, and David Gottesman, D-Nashua, and along with several other senators, were instrumental in defeating the bill as originally introduced.
I believe that these senators are not beholden to the citizens of this state, but are more beholden to special interest groups, namely lawyers and lobbyists, who by the way, were the number one financial contributors in all four senatorsâ€™ 2004 campaigns. I have also seen several letters of support for Sen. Roberge in The (Milford) Cabinet and other papers. One letter to The Cabinet in support of Sen. Roberge came from family law attorney/former state Rep. Margy Halliburton (â€œSheâ€™ll vote for Sen. Sheila Roberge in GOP primary.â€) Readers should know that Ms. Halliburton personally opposed HB 539 and testified to both the House and Senate that it should not be passed.
A letter to the Bedford Bulletin written by Yvonne Nanasi was titled, â€œSnider does not know Roberge.â€ Ms. Nanasi was registered as a lobbyist with the state as early as last year.
Lawyers and the senators that they support do not want constitutional parenting protections because it would severally limit the lawyers, and the senators who are lawyers, their main means of income. Family law litigation is big business and industry in this state.
As the aforementioned studies indicate, joint physical custody means less litigation, less litigation means less income for the divorce industry. Less income for lawyers also means less money to contribute to the politicians who support their interests. Remember, lawyers and lobbyists were the main financial campaign contributors to all four senators in 2004.
The lawyers will tell you that they know what is in the best interest of children in this state. I believe that the citizens of this state do not need or want lawyers to tell them what is in the best interest of the children of this state, nor do I believe that the citizens of this state want senators who pander to special interest groups and have agendas to be elected again.
Would I characterize these senators as anti-constitution and/or anti-family? Let the record speak for itself.
I do not think there is any doubt that the voters of this state would agree that HB 529 would have immensely improved our society. While the voters of this state have many important issues to contend with in an election, I do not believe there is a more important issue than protecting the future of our children.
As Pope John Paul once said, â€œso goes the children, so goes the world.â€
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