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MA bill would limit sex during divorce

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By: Alexandra Cowley

acowley@abc6.com

A divorce bill in the Massachusetts Senate is getting a lot of negative attention. The bill would limit partners from engaging in sexual relationships in the marital home, until after the divorce is final. We sat down with the man behind the bill, who tells us people are getting him all wrong.

83-year-old Robert Leclair is defending Massachusetts Senate bill 787. After all, he is the one who drafted it years ago, when he was immersed in a nasty custody battle with his wife.

"If people want to have sex, as long as it's not in the martial home, you can go to a motel if you want, I'm not trying to legislate morality."

Leclair said his divorce began in 1972 and ended 12 years later. He fought for joint custody of his 2 children for more than a decade. They're now grown and married.

"Oh it was very difficult for anyone to go through," said Leclair.

Leclair says it wasn't his personal situation that inspired the bill, but others he learned about, when he joined a 'fathers unite' group. There, he witnessed the jealousy divorce can encourage, and thought there should be restrictions enforced by the courts.

Leclair explained, "it was his home, he was thrown out of it, and if he sees another male there with his wife and his children, anything can happen."

The bill states:

"In divorce proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless permission is granted by the courts."

Senator Richard Ross submitted the bill for Leclair last year, but does not support it.

In a statement Ross said:

"This was a free petition that I filed at the request of a constituent. I am not a sponsor of this legislation nor have I ever endorsed or spoken in favor of it."

Leclair has another bill in the senate he thinks stands a chance, which would change the presumed "child goes with mother" mentality and give more rights to the father.

(C) WLNE-TV 2014

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