Deval Patrick Promises Again to Convene a Task Force on Shared Parenting

Deval Patrick

In his monthly appearance on WTKK, today Governor Deval Patrick promised to convene a task force to study Shared Parenting.

A bill on Shared Parenting has appeared before the Legislature for the last several years. It’s before the Legislature again this year in the form of bill H1400. It would create a presumption that in divorce, when there are two fit parents that shared custody, it is in the best interests of children – a finding backed up by most modern studies on child development after divorce.

The measure is extremely popular. It won a ballot initiative in 2004 with 86% of the vote. Deval Patrick ought to know because it has been the #1 issue on his issues web site from the day he started it.

Patrick was first asked this question on WTKK, four months ago, and promised to convene a task force to study the measure. Since then, the Governor failed to convene the task force and the legislative clock is almost running out.

Today, he was asked about it again, this time by leading parents rights advocate Dr. Peter Hill. Patrick promised that a task force is in the works. And he had this to say:

You have a lot of folks out there who think this task force is a bad idea. What I want are people on it who actually are going to work on a solution and not just sit across a table and shout at each other.

We wonder who has he been talking to? The great majority of voters want to see this measure passed. So it must not be the voters he was listening to, but a few influential politicos on Beacon Hill. Maybe he’s afraid to ruffle feathers among the lawyers’ lobbies who see this as bad for business. Maybe it’s the influence of divorce lawyer and judiciary committee chairwoman Cynthia Creem, a vocal opponent of all meaningful family law reform.

It could be that as Patrick sees his poll numbers plummet ahead of an election, and that now he sees the need to start acting on this popular issue. But at such a late date, we wonder if there is still enough time to act.

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