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                           May 29, 2013


In This Issue:


First Right of Refusal Legislation Passes
Shared Parenting Bill Hearing in Illinois

LW4SP Growing
Researcher Support for Shared Parenting

Illinois Right of First Refusal Legislation Goes to Governor


Last Wednesday, May 22, the Illinois Senate passed HB2992 unanimously.  The bill had previously passed the House, also by a unanimous vote.  Now the bill goes to Governor Quinn for signature.  Championed by Illinois Fathers member Richard Lee Thomas, the bill provides statutory authority for judges to incorporate right of first refusal provisions into child custody orders.


At ACFC one of the more common complaints we hear from parents is that their children are being placed in daycare or farmed out to other people when the ‘other’ parent is available and wants to care for the children.  In these situations the overarching theme seems to be “Anyone but me.”  It’s one of the more frustrating situations parents endure.


The Right of First Refusal gives the ‘other’ parent first option to care for the children should the parent currently exercising parenting time need to leave the child in the care of another person for an extended period.  Depending on the terms of the order, a parent has the first refusal option when the child is to be left in another’s care for anywhere from a few hours onward.

Every Illinois parent who wants more time with their children needs to have right of first refusal language incorporated into their child custody decrees.   Illinois Fathers released this statement on passage of the bill.

Congratulations to ACFC affiliate, Illinois Fathers and Richard Lee Thomas for their outstanding effort in shepherding this bill through the legislature.  Illinois Fathers has become very visible in the statehouse over the past number of years and is a leading voice for family law improvement efforts in the state.  Thanks also go out to everyone who responded to our requests to fill out witness slips for the committee.


(pictured above L to R are: IF Robert Ferrar, ACFC Mike McCormick, IF Richard Lee Thomas, PAAO-USA/LW4SP Jill Egizii, Bill Sponsor Rep. Kelly Burke, and Mary Ann Manko.)


Subject Matter Hearing on Shared Parenting Legislation


Also last Wednesday in Illinois the House Judiciary Committee held a subject matter hearing on HB1452, legislation which substantially amends and updates the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.   The committee heard testimony regarding why the state should adopt a minimum presumption of 35% time sharing baseline for children with both parents in the event of divorce.  ACFC’s Executive Director Michael McCormick presented testimony regarding the state of child custody research supporting the full involvement of both parents in children’s lives regardless of the parents’ present marital status. 


Jill Egizii, from Leading Women for Shared Parenting and president of Parental Alienation Awareness Organization USA offered testimony on the long term damage to child/parent relationships when PA is present and how significant parenting time with both parents is the antidote to Parental Alienation.

McCormick also discussed which states are progressing toward greater shared parenting including the recently adopted language in Arkansas signed by Governor Beebe.  He also discussed the recent vetoes of shared parenting by the governors of Florida and Minnesota.  On hearing of the vetoes, committee Chairperson Elaine Nekrtiz commented:  “That just goes to show you legislators can be wiser than governors.” 

Attorney Howard Feldman, an American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys Fellow, and an appointed member of the Illinois Family Law Study Committee, testified as to how the committee was guided by social science research when crafting its recommendations.  He further testified as to how he has witnessed the benefits of shared parenting for the children of his law firm clients who practice it.

Also attending the hearing were Robert Ferrar and Richard Lee Thomas of Illinois Fathers as well as Mike Dogherty of the Illinois Children’s Rights Council.  We expect substantive progress on this bill in the 2014 legislative session.



Leading Women for Shared Parenting Expanding Rapidly


Several weeks ago we shared news about a recently formed organization – Leading Women for Shared Parenting.  We are pleased to report LW4SP is growing rapidly and continues to attract a stellar lineup of influential women to its group.  Over the past ten days the group has reported the addition of three more female legislators and six attorneys to it roster.   All supporting equally shared parenting.

The group also reports the addition of Karen DeCrow, for president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) to its membership.  Ms. DeCrow led NOW from 1974 -1977.  Over the last 5 decades she has been a supporter of shared parenting for kids after divorce.  Most recently Ms. DeCrow appeared in Angelo Lobo’s movie “Support: System Down” stating once again there should be a rebuttable presumption of shared parenting in cases of divorce involving children.

Congratulations LW4SP and welcome to the shared parenting movement.  Share LW4SP’s website with your female friends and family members and ask them to endorse the organization’s Shared Parenting statement.

World’s Leading Child Custody Researchers Support Shared Parenting


In preparation for providing testimony in Illinois last week ACFC’s Mike McCormick reached out to 14 of the world’s leading researchers in the area of child custody regarding the custody provision recommendations in Illinois House Bill 1452. 


Six researchers responded favorably to the provisions while NO researchers responded negatively.  There is a significant and growing contingent of world class researchers who are becoming more vocal in their support for providing children maximum time with both parents.   We welcome these developments.



Equal Placement Legislation Introduced in Wisconsin


This article from the Wisconsin State Journal discusses AB 211.  Thanks to Steve Blake from ACFC affiliate, Dads of Wisconsin for the forward.  As Steve notes, it's time for Wisconsin residents to talk to their legislators.


North Carolina Shared Parenting


Sheila Peltzer of our NC affiliate, Kids Need 2 Parents wrote this response to a recent press release from a NC law firm arguing against shared parenting for North Carolina's children.

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Thank You 


Our last newsletter carried a quote from Winston Churchill about Never Giving Up.


Joseph B. in Colorado shared this inspiring story:


I just wanted to share with others to NEVER GIVE UP ! ... I found my son on April 28, 2013, It has been 18 1/2 long Years since I have seen him, he is talking to me on FB & wants to see me for Fathers Day... 3 weeks after I found him he called me Dad & said he loved me ... ... ...

That makes you feel sooo good ... ... ... It took me 18 1/2 years of dealing with Government Lies & BS to find him but, I NEVER gave up on Finding my Son ... ... ...





ACFC needs volunteers to become actively engaged in changing the way the courts (mis)treat children and their parents. If volunteering interests you please send an email to ACFC Executive Director Mike McCormick. Please include a brief description of any particular skills you have and areas of interest.





For the past 17 years ACFC and its national network of affiliated organizations have worked to educate the public, policy makers, legislators, judges, agency and family court personnel on the importance of two parent involvement in children's lives.  


Check for additional updates and like us on facebook at www.facebook.com/acfcorg


Visit the website at www.acfc.org


Thanks to our friends at Illinois Fathers for generously supporting ACFC's enews.


Contact Illinois Fathers to find out more about Fatherless Day rallies coming up in June.





According to research from Dr. William Fabricius at Arizona State University. 


When over 1,000 college students were asked to reflect on their parents' divorce and what they would have changed about it - the top response was to have spent more time with the non-primary residential parent. 


When asked what would have been the best living arrangement for them - the top response was to have lived equally with both parents.

The American Coalition for Fathers and Children (ACFC)

1718 M. St. NW #1187

Washington, DC 20036


ACFC is America's shared parenting organization.  Through a network of affiliated organizations we are changing family law.  If you need assistance please click here.  You will be taken to a page on our website with free resources to help you understand the current family law system.  Volunteer, become engaged.  The keys to changing the current system of family law are in our hands.

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