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Reply 3/15/03 (see original e-mail below)

Dear XXXX

 Thanks for your message. I do not know your situation and our organization
 is not about child support. That is what South Dakota Child Enforcement is
 about. What we are about is encouraging shared parenting and eliminating
 the many barriers to active involvement with children by BOTH parents.
 It is my hope that your are doing everything in your power to try to get
 your son's father involved completely in their lives even if it means
 sending him videos, pictures of his children or having your children write
 him. Their lives depend on this. Only you can make this difference and build
 your son's appreciation for their Dad. Unfortunately many fathers and
 mothers do not recognize the importance of their active involvement in their
 child's life following divorce and ultimately, either as a child, teen or
 adult of divorce, children are the losers. Their Dad may not want to be
 involved for a number of reasons, however, not loving his children is
 generally not one of them.
 From what is written below, this may not be what you want to hear and you
 may think the Dad is the worst. I do not know. However, for your son's
 benefit (and yours), having Dad involved in their lives is extremely
 important.
 I will be out-of-town from tomorrow until the 26th. Feel free to email me
 back, however, it may be awhile before I reply. In invite you to look at
 our website if you haven't already for membership and other important
 information. See below for website address.
 Sincerely,
 John Grosz, President
 The South Dakota Coalition for Shared Parenting
 Note: This information is offered for educational purposes only. Nothing
 here or elsewhere on this site should be construed as legal advice. For
 legal advice, consult an attorney.
 Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2003 9:31 AM
 Subject: wanting to join in
  Steve,
  My Name is XXX and I am a single mother of three growing
  children. My 9 year old sons father has had NOTHING to do with him in the
  last seven years. They wont let me terminate his parental rights because
  even though I work 40+ hours a week I dont make enough to completely
 support all three kids on my own and therefore receive assistance through the
 state.
  He also lives in another state that is not very cooperative in helping to
  collect the child support he owes. I am lucky if I receive a payment every
  two years. I want to know what else I can do about this or if there is any
  organizations I can join to help fight for the rights we deserve as single
  parents and to help others do the same. PLEASE email me back as soon as
  possible. Thank You!
  Sincerely,
  Sioux Falls, SD
February 4, 2003 (edited)

My name is XXX. I have two precious daughters who now live in (out of state) because of the decision that their mother has made. She has no job, she was just unhappy here in South Dakota. Now the girls do not get to see me nor do I get to see them. I have every right to parenting time but as it stands it is very impractical and costly to transport them here. I am in strong support of the shared parenting bill and pray that it passes for the benefit of my children and hundreds of other precious children who need the love and guidance of both loving parents.

I have read the non-supporting email and all I can say is how dare the person who wrote and stated that the reason for SB60 is purely financial on the part of the non-custodial parent. If you support the present law as it stands, you do not love your children enough to be a fit parent. When love for your children is strong enough you will gladly allow them to spend equal time with the other parent. That is what they need, period! I was raised with two parents and I can say that I am extremely grateful to our Creator for the strength and perseverance that He provided to them to keep it together. I come from a family of twelve and we all worked together as a family, not always smoothly, but the result was good. I have a great bunch of brothers and sisters as a result of my parents efforts. They were not always perfect but they always did the best they knew how with the knowledge they had and that's all I need to know. I thank God for them every day...

Currently the courts ARE more concerned about money than keeping the family structure together for the benefit of the children in fact the court is responsible for the further destruction of broken families . That's what keeps the justice system going is money. I don't think they care a hoot about my children and what they really need. If any decision related to custody or child support by the courts was challenged by the basic rights that the Constitution of the United States, those decisions would and should be ruled unconstitutional. That is another reason that I support SB60 200% because it is much more in synchronization with those rights.

The supporters of SB60 have decided that enough is enough and if we want our boys and girls grow up to be responsible and loving adults, they would need both parents..enough said..I will email again.

Thank You Steve, John, Al, Mari, David, Tim and Roger for the opportunity to send my support email and for your courage and vision to see through the "smoke and mirrors". Keep the support for SB60 alive, strong and well and soon this country will turn around and our children will grow up to be adults with the same courage and vision to see the truth.

January 26, 2003

Steve, I read about the bill being introduced to the committee concerning shared parenting. Our son is currently going through a divorce, and a custody dispute.The evaluation concluded that both parents were equally bonded, fit, and capable to be parents, and the child would be well adjusted with either parent. The evaluator then stated that he had to name one or the other for the court, so he named the mother because she is a woman! All other things equal, just because she is a woman. Discrimination? Definately! Our son is trying for shared parenting, and this bill is extremely important to him, us, and especially his child. She needs both parents equally, and depriving her of her father will be devastating to her. We are fully supportive of this bill, have signed the petition, and have emailed it to others and asked them to keep it going. I also am going to write or email the committee who is deciding the fate of children. I cannot believe that anyone, parents, grandparents, relatives, people who care about children, would not support this bill. The man from the Dept. of S.S. must not have children or care about children, or he would be in complete favor of this bill instead of fighting it. Thank you for your efforts in fighting this bill. Good luck to you. We pray that it goes through, so children can continue to have both parents equally involved in their lives.

January 29, 2003

My name is xxx . I am a father of a beautiful 2 year-old little girl named xxx.  Unfortunately, child's mother and I were not meant to spend our lives together, and we are now in the middle of a divorce.

I am a firm believer in children needing the care of both of their parents, financially and most of all physically and mentally. Over the last year since my wife and I have separated, I have been fortunate in the fact that I have had child in my care exactly 50% of the time every week. Currently, her mother and I have it scheduled so that child is in her care every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and every other Wednesday. child then gets to spend every other Wednesday, and every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with me.

If you had the opportunity to meet my little girl, you would immediately notice that she is extremely smart, and a very happy child. She is such a god-send!!! Everyone that gets the chance to meet her is immediately drawn to her. Her vocabulary, as a 2 year-old, is excellent. She is the sweetest and most well behaved child I have ever seen. Now this may seem to be just a father that believes his baby can do no wrong, but everything I say is true. child is very well-adjusted.

Since the separation, I have said nothing besides child needing equal time with both of her parents. I would never want to take away my daughters time with her mother, because child needs that and has a right to that. The problem is, not everyone remembers how much a child needs to spend time with both mommy and daddy. Every child in this world should have the right to spend equal time with both of their loving parents. My daughter and I have a very close bond. We love each other very much. I would do anything for her, and I know that she can already understand that. This, however, is where things are getting scarey.
Initially, my wife was unsure about this arrangement working. She did agree to give it a try, and the outcome so far has shown that it is working for child. As I said before, child is happy and very well-adjusted. The thing is, my wife is now getting greedy. She is trying to change child's schedule now to only see her daddy 1 day every week and every other weekend. To take away child's valuable time with her loving father is unfair to child. I can understand my wife wanting to spend every second with child, as do I, but we have to think of what is best for our daughter first. She needs to have a close relationship with both of her parents, as do all children. The studies have shown time and time again that children that do not have fathers that are active in their lives suffer severely. They are at much greater risk of suicide, teen pregnancy, problems with the law, depression, poor grades, and the list goes on and on. When a child's schedule is changed to limit their time with one of the parents, that parent becomes just a visitor. Hence the term "visitation". This takes away the bond that children deserve to have with both parents. The child is left feeling like that parent does not love them as much, when in fact it is not that parents fault at all. Later in life, the child has problems developing healthy relationships, because of what has happened in the past.

I know that this is becoming a lengthy letter, and I appologize for this. I know that you are very busy and have a lot of issues in front of you. The point that I am trying to make is that even though divorce is tough on children, why make things worse by limiting the relationship they need with both parents. The mother is no more important than the father, and vice-versa. Comments have been made to me such as "you just don't want to pay child support" and "what about the child's routine". To answer the first remark, I spend every penny I have on my daughter. I want to give her everthing that I never had and more!!! I do make child support payments to child's mother to offset the income difference, as I make more money than she. I have already said that if that is what she wants, I will pay more. The money is not the important issue. Money is money. Money is not happiness. Love is happiness. Quite frankly, child could care less if she gets another toy, children get sick of toys. child does care though that she sees her daddy and her mommy. She knows that both of her parents love her.
Now to the second remark. How is it any different for a child to go from one parents to the others than going from the parents to the daycare? Taking away a childs time with one of their parents is the devastating change to their routine!
Divorce is never easy on children. It is too bad that anyone ever has to go through it, but we can make sure that our children know that they are loved equally by both parents. Shared parenting is not perfect, but life is not perfect. But the benefits to the kids definitely out-weigh the alternative.

I wish that people would stop and think what it is like to be in someone elses shoes. How do you think it feels to be a kid and to not get to see one of your parents but once a week and every other weekend? Now that is unfair.
Please pass SB60 for Shared parenting. The children depend on it. Society depends on it.
Sincerily,

Proud to be the loving father of
Resident Sioux Falls, SD

January 30, 2003

I just thought the original bill was, empowering primarily to the parties involved
(the parents and children) and Minimized 3rd parties, whose stake seems to be
mostly financial and afterwards when all is said and done doesn't have to give the matter a second thought, other than the education the case has provided, for future like cases.

The opponents I've heard are mainly family lawyers. The next time and there will be a next time a bill similar to sb 60 in its original form is presented.
I would like the opponents motivations questioned by the committee, in particular "how much money have you made in child custody cases and would this shared parenting bill effect your finances?" I would sincerely like to know that answer. I assume there's some type of oath taken before testimony.

The idea that anyone would pursue joint physical custody for financial reasons is ridiculous. I have a joint physical custody arrangement and if any of my peers
would decide to go for joint physical custody only to save money, I would show
them my legal and custody evaluation bills. These bills are close to the same as 3 years of child support payments not to mention how much more I could've made through investing these bulk sums and paying the monthly due child support.

At the very least I have learned that I am not alone in my opinions on what I see
as a seriously flawed child custody system. This is this first time I have really been involved in this type of discourse. I am happy to see that lively debate takes place and I am proud to take part in it. thanks.


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