Ask Gov. Schwarzenegger to Sign SB 1188 (Child Custody Reform)

Aug. 10, 2010–Aug. 23, 2010


Governor Schwarzenegger signed CA SB 1188 into law in August, 2010.

Divorced or separated parents who have disabilities are sometimes driven to the margins of their children’s lives because their disability/partial disability is used by their former partners to deny them child custody or visitation. California SB 1188, sponsored by California Senator Rod Wright (D-Los Angeles), protects these parents. Working with Fathers and Families and Disability Rights California, our supporters wrote then-California Governor Schwarzenegger to urge him to sign the Bill.

Why This Campaign

While some people with disabilities are truly unable to care for their children, many are more than capable of doing so. California Senator Rod Wright’s (D-Los Angeles) SB 1188 addresses this problem by adding Section 3049 to the Family Code to read:

"It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section to codify the decision of the California Supreme Court in In re Marriage of Carney (1979) 24 Cal.3d 725, with respect to custody and visitation determinations by the court involving a disabled parent."

SB 1188 increases the burden of proof on the parent who raises disability as an issue and will serve as a deterrent to unnecessary litigation. It will reduce litigation costs and court calendar time as well.

Margaret Johnson of Disability Rights California and I co-authored a column in support of the bill in the Los Angeles Daily NewsSenate bill would protect rights of disabled parents—which details the need for this legislation (8/18/10).


Mental Health Professionals, Doctors, Educators, Family Law Professionals & Prominent Citizens Endorse SB 1188

"Currently under the laws relating to child custody, a disability can be used as a reason to deny custody or visitation. Nationally, one in six parents has a disability. They're poorer on average than nondisabled parents, and their ability to fight long, expensive court battles to defend their relationships with their children is limited.

"The undersigned believe that Senator Rod Wright's SB 1188 will address this problem. SB 1188 is sponsored by Fathers and Families, Disability Rights California, and the American Retirees Association, and we support this important legislation."

Gene Albelo, L.C.S.W
Miami, FL

Anthony Ambrosio, Ph.D.
Educational Psychologist
Emporia, KS

Adam Andersen, JD
Laguna Niguel, CA

Lloyd Axelrod, M.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Nigel Blampied
Oakland, CA

Bruce A Blandin
Bedford, NH

Kenneth J. Brinsko, MD
Faculty, Medical College of Georgia
Augusta, GA

William Brooks, RN
Boston, MA

Dana Clahane, Ph.D.
Professor, Fullerton College
Fullerton, CA

Amy Sterling Casil, MFA
Vice President, Beyond Shelter
Los Angeles, CA

James D. Cathell Sr.
Captain, US Army (Ret)
New Freedom, PA

Mike Coghlan, Esq.
DeKalb, IL

Lloyd A. Conway, MAT, MPA
Adjunct Instructor
Spring Arbor University
Spring Arbor, MI

Allyson Dalley M.S., NCC, LPC-I
Fort Worth, TX

David Dodson, MD
Wellesley, MA

Brian Downs, Esq.
Family Law Attorney
Grand Rapids, MI

James M. Van Dyk
Ashland, MA

William E. Eckert
Sr. Chemist
Cooper Tire and Rubber
Findlay, Ohio

Jay Essif
Licensed Psychologist
Lancaster, PA

Dr. Thomas Farrell, M.D.
Weston, CT

Michael D. Gerhardt, Esq.
Judge Advocate General,
Disabled American Veterans,
Verdun Chapter 33
Chicago, IL

Bruce J. Gibson, Esq.
Beverly Hills, CA

Mitchel Glanzbergh, ABOM
Woodland Hills, CA

Tom Golden, LCSW
Author, Speaker, Psychotherapist
Washington, DC

Richard M. Green, M.D.
Beverly Hills, CA

Rev. Jeanene Hammers
Vice-Chairman, Washington County Disabled & Seniors Advisory Council
Aloha, OR

Kenneth Hart
Baltimore, MD

Edwin A. Hissa, M.D.
Jackson, Ohio

Christopher Ho, M.D.
Los Angeles, CA

John Hribernick, CPA
Seattle, Washington

Donald C. Hubin, Ph.D.
Faculty, Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

Dr. Russell Jennings
Pediatric Surgeon, Children’s Hospital Boston
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Matt Johnson, M.S. Ed.
Educational Consultant
Cleveland, Ohio

Rev. Jack Kearney, M.Div., CATC
Faculty, Loyola-Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA

Terry Kee
VP Business Banking
JP Morgan Chase
Columbus, OH

David A. Klein, M.D.
Glenwood Landing, NY

Paul W. Koda, Esq.
Eldersburg, MD

Gregory T. Kotonias, M.D.
Assist. Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, MA.

Stephen Levine
Attorney at Law
San Bernardino, CA.

Monika Logan, LBSW
Licensed Social Worker
Allen, Texas

Peter J. Logan, Esq.
San Francisco, CA

Kevin P. Maguire D.O.
Family Medicine
Anchorage, Alaska

Gennady Malin, PhD
Pharmaceutical Development
Newton, MA

Brett W. Martin, Esq.
Managing Attorney
Martin Law Firm
Westminster, CO

Barry J. Massing, Esq.
Alberta, Canada

Sean McCormick, MD
Chicago, IL

David Menchell, M.D.
Fresh Meadows, NY

Lee R. Miller, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science
College of San Mateo
San Mateo, CA

Nan Miller, Ph.D, LCSW
Mount Kisco, NY

Michael  Muller
Counseling Psychologist, retired
San Antonio, TX

Rick Navarro, CPA
Winthrop, MA

Dr. Norman Dale Norris
University Professor
New Orleans, LA

Ron Nerding, Esq.
Martinsville, IN

Robert Opaluch, PhD
Riverside, RI

Breandan O’Scealai, Esq.
New York, NY

Robert Palumbo Ph. D.
Clinical Psychologist
Dix Hills, NY

Ron E. Pruitt, MD

Peter A. Rapoza, MD
Boston, MA

John Risen, CPA
Eugene, OR

Kimberley S. Roberts, LMSW
Executive Director,
Independent Child Advocate ServicesVinton, IA

Mark Ruffolo, MS, MBA
Faculty, USIL, Judson U.
Chicago, IL

Eric Ryerson, RN
Eugene, OR

Julius Salinas
Faculty, Lake Superior College
Duluth, MN

Frederic H. Schwartz, MD
Worcester, MA

Keith Sedlacek, M.D.
New York, NY

Ashish Sharma MD
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Wendy L. Sheppard, MSW
Ambler, PA

Francisco Soriano
Social Worker
Las Vegas, NV

Donald M.,Thea, MD, MSc.
Boston, MA

Larry Title, Esq.
Los Angeles, CA

Mitchell Waldman, Esq.
Rochester, NY

John Wight, MBA
Faculty, Brigham Young University
Provo, UT

Thomas Young, PhD
Salt Lake City, UT

Constantine Zhukovsky, Esq.
Family Law Attorney
San Francisco, CA

Note: Institutions and organizations noted above are listed for identification purposes only.

Special Thanks to…

  • Former Fathers and Families’ legislative representative Michael Robinson who, along with his assistant Nicole Silverman, spent months lobbying legislators and gathering support for SB 1188.
  • SB 1188’s sponsor, California Senator Rod Wright (D-Los Angeles)
  • Co-sponsors of the bill—Fathers and Families, Disability Rights California, and the American Retirees Association.
  • Supporters of the bill, including the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California, the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, AMVETS Department of California, and others.