Bangor Daily News

Last updated: Saturday, April 6, 2002

Enhancing kidsí lives

Bangor Daily News

The people of Maine, especially the families with children, owe a great debt of gratitude to the Legislature and the governor passing

LD 1405 into law to assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage. This law goes on to describe that both parents can submit a plan of parenting to be approved by the court, and describes that shared parental rights and responsibilities are in the best interest of the child.

Our lawmakers have decided that strong family ties and role modeling are important to children, even after divorce has occurred. They probably realized that awarding primary custody to only one parent has caused a rise in child suicides (especially in boys), increased drug use by children, higher incidents of teen pregnancy, and generally more crimes are committed by these kids. Not to mention their emotional development was ruined when dad was forced out of their lives and/or driven into poverty by a gender-biased court system. I was overwhelmed with hope and emotion last week when I read through the divorces occurring at the Calais District Court in the Bangor Daily

News because shared custody was granted two-thirds of the time

and shared parental rights and responsibilities in every case.

This is a turnabout from judges scowling at fathers divorcing in court, before they even had a chance to testify, and in the same courtroom treating thieves and drug addicts with respect and dignity. Now Maine judges have the opportunity to enhance the lives of our children by eliminating the contest from divorce and relegating shared custody to benefit the child.

Bob Costa


©2001 Bangor Daily News.