Read the news coverage and op-eds about our Shared Parenting Report Card at the links below:
August 28, 2019 by Ginger Gentile, Deputy Executive Director
December 11, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Nicholas Zill has had a long and illustrious career as a research psychologist. Anyone who’s studied issues related to families, fathers and children over the last 30 years or so has run into his work. He’s now a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies. Here’s his most recent article (IFS, 12/4/19).
There’s nothing earth-shaking in the piece. He’s simply reporting on child support figures and raising issues about what they mean for kids. He rightly points out for example that the child support enforcement system works just fine for parents who’d be paying anyway, but does a lousy job if the parents are poor. We know this because the Office of Child Support Enforcement has been letting us know for well over a decade.
[M]y examination of child support data from the Census Bureau reveals that the new fatherhood (i.e. fathers spending more parenting time) is not benefiting the children who need it most. (parenthetical mine)
That is, whereas married and more affluent fathers are spending greater amounts of time with their kids than did fathers of past generations, poorer and less well-educated fathers aren’t. Now, I’m not sure that, as Zill suggests, kids of poor parents need their fathers more than do those from more privileged backgrounds, but Zill has a point: there’s a divide in American society between those with actively engaged fathers and those without. Those without tend to be poorer, not incidentally because they don’t have fathers in the home.
December 10, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Once again, a court has ignored the plain meaning of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Once again, a child is left in the custody of an alienating mother. Once again, a fit father is removed from his child’s life. Once again, the very courts that are supposed to discourage international child kidnapping in fact endorse it.
This time the mother’s destination was New Zealand and the child’s country of habitual residence was somewhere in Europe (the article doesn’t say which country). But, as in so many other cases, the result is the same – Mom managed to elude authorities long enough so the courts ruled that the child’s “best interests” can only be served by leaving her in the custody of an abuser and effectively removing the father from her life.
Such is the way of the Hague Convention that was written to prevent exactly that from happening.
This highly informative article tells the tale (New Zealand Herald, 12/2/19).
Five years ago, the mother abducted the child from Europe to New Zealand. The girl’s father tried for three years to locate her and, only through dumb luck, eventually succeeded. He immediately filed a suit under the Hague Convention for return of the girl to him and her home country.
At that point, the Hague Convention intends that the court in the country to which the child is abducted ask the question, “What is the child’s country of habitual residence?” In other words, was the child taken from her home by an abductor or to her home from an abductor? Clearly, the European country in which she’d been born and lived all her life was her country of habitual residence. Therefore, according to the Convention, the girl should be returned home and any legal proceedings occur there.
But the family court in New Zealand wrongly refused to issue an order requiring the girl’s return to her father in Europe. I know that to be wrong because (a) the Convention is very clear on what a court is to do and (b) the New Zealand Court of Appeal said so.