Miller and Busch: Who do you represent the people or divorce lawyers?

Dear Senator Miller and Speaker Busch,

I am writing to bring your attention to the Joint Custody Presumption bill HB1386/SB962 that are currently in the process of being killed by the Judiciary committee in the House and the Judicial Proceedings in the Senate.

The respective committees had hearings for this bill on March 8 and 9, each with a long list of public testimonies in support of the bill. To this day, this bill still has not been allowed to come to a vote by the respective committee chair.

The only opposition for this bill has been from the Maryland Bar. They have been opposing this bill for more than 10 years now.

How much longer are you going to allow this to happen? When are we going to have a Legislature that listens to the people and not to the special interest?

The Joint Custody Presumption bill’s only goal is simply to reduce outdated biases in the family court and to level the field when divorcing parents enter the family court. With a level playing field, there will be less acrimony, simpler process, more predictable outcome, and less cost to the parents involved. A level playing field is what the Constitution wants and it is what is best for parents and children who have to go through the difficult time of divorce.

The only party that will likely be harmed by this are the divorce lawyers because less acrimony will mean less business for them. Divorce is a very lucrative business to these lawyers and they will not let this go easily.

But the question to you is who should you represent? The people or the divorce lawyers?

The same battle between the people and the divorce lawyers has been unfolding also in Florida. A similar Joint Custody Presumption bill was introduced in Florida and it was similarly opposed by the lawyers, citing the usual false argument that it is not in the best interest of the children. The difference between Florida and Maryland is that there (in Florida) the Legislature listened to the will of the people and passed the bill.

Once the bill passed the Legislature, what does the Florida Bar do? It mounted a huge lobbying campaign to have the Governor not to sign this bill.

Do you really think now that the divorce lawyers are still mainly concerned about the so-called “best interest of the children”? Or are they mainly concerned about the best interest of their pockets?

The fact that the Bar has been able to kill this bill for so many years shows how much the Legislature listens to them and ignores the pleas from the Maryland citizens.

It is not too late to correct this this year. Please do what you can to stop the committee chairs from blocking the committee voting for this bill.

David Djajaputra