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In the News

Monday, August 10, 2009

Update: California Parental Alienation Bill, AB 612

We want to apologize for this late update on AB 612, the California bill that was carried by Assemblyman Beall that would have prevented a court from considering evidence that a parent had deliberately engaged in tactics and behavior that intentionally estranges a Childs bond with their other parent.

Before we continue we want to pay special tribute to: The Family Law Executive Committee of the California State Bar (FLEXCOM) and The California Psychologist Association (CPA) for their outstanding work and help this year on making sure committee staff and members were better informed and educated on Parental Alienation.

As a result of all of the hard work that went into this bill, it was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee and because of the way the rules work the issue will not be able to be heard again until June 2010.

We want to encourage you to read both the Assembly Judiciary Committee Analysis and the Senate Judiciary Committee Analysis on the bill. After reading these analysis’s you will plainly see that the education that was done made a big impact. We are hopeful that legislators and staff have been well enough educated on the issue this time around that no reasonable person would even considering carrying another piece of legislation that would attempt to do what this was trying to do.

This was the third year in a row now that CAFC has had to deal with this issue and bill. You can read more about our past involvement here.

This year after early discussions with the lead persons for FLEXCOM and CPA handling the bill, it was agreed early on that stronger educating efforts for committee staff and members was need. Although our combined past efforts had included educating committee staff and members, this years efforts pulled out all stop to make sure that staff had the best and most accurate information on the issue. Some of this was covered in our earlier post here.

Additionally in our discussions with FLEXCOM and the CPA we all shared the concerns that this bill could have had the potential to turn into a debate about gender and take the focus off the merits and facts of the issue. As a result CAFC was asked to contact one of the prominent advocates for men and fathers, Glenn Sacks of Fathers & Family and making the difficult request that they not get involved or engage in the bill.

Too this end we want to thank both Glenn Sacks and Fathers & Family for not only agreeing to the request, but also understanding and honoring it. This is a very emotionally charged issue and we know how difficult it is to stay quit and not act sometimes. And we want to applaud Glenn and the folks at Fathers & Families for showing some real disciplined and mature restraint. We hope that if any of their members and readers who may have been upset understands that Glenn and Fathers and Families acted in your best interest. More importantly they acted in the best interest of children. The final results are proof of this.

We also want to acknowledge that some of the complaints that the sponsors of the bill have some merits also. Namely, the use of parental alienation being used as a tactical weapon in child custody cases. As we have stated before that this has and is occurring in some cases, and is being exploited in the same way some use restraining orders to gain a tactical advantage in a child custody case. Parents who intentional exploited either should be sanctioned heavily for using these tactics because of the harm it causes children.

It is of our opinion that the way forward to address everyone’s concern is through better education on the issue. And we are hoping that cool heads will prevail and any future debate and discussion on this and other family law matters can be done in a respectful way that produces sound policy that serves the best interest of 21st century children and future generations.

While we know that the current economy is making it hard for all of you, we ask that everyone do what they can to donate to help assure our continued operations. And we can not thank those of you who are already contributing enough. Also please tell friends and family about us.

We are all in this together and together we can fix the problems children and families are currently facing. We thank you in advance for your continued support and donations.

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