Children’s Right Initiative Joins Forces with Locals
By Sarah Kirchner, THE HOMETOWN NEWS, Sept. 13-19, 2007
Larry Kerkman is the founder and president of CRISPE: Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting Equally. They are touring the U.S. in a purple, 42-foot motor home attending rallies and sitting outside courthouses to draw attention to the injustice in the family court system. Mr. Kerkman has come to Massachusetts to join forces with local groups in the fight for equal shared parenting.
Imagine a father who filed for divorce, standing in court hoping to obtain joint custody of his children. His ex-wife describes the conflict between them and explains why she is asking for full custody. The loving father stands listening, a law-abiding citizen, thinking that there is no reason that the judge would rule against him. Then the decision is handed down:
Because an agreement cannot be reached between the parents, it would be best for the children that one person take control and, with the slap of a gavel, the father can’t see his children except four days a month. He is also ordered to pay $1,500 monthly child support.
That was just the sort of scenario that Kerkman found himself in, and it happens more often than most think.
In equal shared parenting, the child spends every other week with each parent. The child support payments are reduced because each parent is already providing for the child’s welfare. The children gain the emotional support of both parents and the dual attention they need.
There is, however, no incentive in the justice system for an equal shared parenting ruling. “If they [the court system] alienate one parent,” says Kerkman, “typically the father but not always, that parent will spend every dime of their money to get into that child’s life.” That is good news for the attorneys who will get more business. The state gets reimbursed a percentage of the child support collected by federal funds, and the judges understand all of this, being ex-attorneys themselves. The children’s emotional well-being is cast aside as the justice system sorts through the money.
The goal of CRISPE is to educate people concerning shared parenting and to work with legislators to change the laws so that shared parenting is the default ruling in cases where both parents are willing and able to care for their children. There are many different organizations like CRISPE in the fight for this cause. With the big purple bus out in front, CRISPE would like to join forces with them all fighting for that one common denominator which is equal shared parenting. Together they can work toward a change in federal legislation, or if they need to, one state at a time. “You cannot change the world by yourself, but you can do it as a group. And that’s what we’re trying to do is bring everybody together.”
To schedule a tour of theCRISPE bus while in the area, or for more information on the organization, visit www.crispe.org. Also to attend a local support group for Non Custodial parents please contact Wayne Jewett at 774-254-5414 or call 1-617-SAD-DADS to get information on the next available meeting.
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[ Photo of CRISPE bus]
Caption: The CRISPE tour bus, touring the U.S., is in town to promote equally-shared parenting.