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NPO Blog

Alimony Awards Growing Less Common

December 17, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Here’s some good, albeit old, news on the alimony front (Money, 11/17/15).

It seems that, with women earning more than in previous decades, more of them are being ordered to pay alimony when they divorce.  And apparently that doesn’t sit well with them, so they’re fighting back.
Now that women are paying alimony more often, they are getting involved in advocating for change.
“It’s unfair for men to pay it, and unfair for women to pay it. But women are much more outraged by it,” said Ken Neumann, a founder of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators.
I hope he’s right.  The more people we have demanding alimony reform, the better.  Of course, as with so many articles of this sort, we’re left to simply believe someone who expresses an opinion.  Neumann cites nothing authoritative for his statement.

 

Who’s the Deadbeat?

December 16, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

“Deadbeat dads” are back in the British news (Independent, 12/13/18).  Oh, the article avoids the term, but the message is the same – fathers don’t care about their kids, so, when Mom divorces Dad, Dad doesn’t want to pay.  We could write the narrative in our sleep.  Needless to say, the article is all of a piece with a thousand others.  Like many of them though, it inadvertently reveals facts about the child support system some would prefer to remain unknown.

It seems that many divorced and separated fathers in the U.K. don’t pay child support or, if they do, don’t pay much.  Or at least that’s what the mothers of their children say.  In keeping with the genre, the survey to which it refers makes no mention of fathers, what their feelings are about the child custody and support systems or indeed anything related to fathers.  Nor does it inquire into non-custodial mothers’ rates of child support.  If the mothers think fathers are anything but walking wallets, there’s no indication of it in the article.

 

In Houston, a Slap on the Wrist for Two Child Abusers

December 14, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

A federal judge in Houston has struck a blow for child abduction, child abuse and violation of law (CBS News, 12/13/18).  On Wednesday, Judge Alfred H. Bennett sentenced Carlos Guimaraes to just three months in prison and his wife Jemima to a mere one month for their part in the abduction of their grandson Nicholas Brann by his mother to Brazil.

I’ve written about the case here and here among others.

Nico’s mother, Marcelle Guimaraes, was married to Houston physician Christopher Brann.  Nico was their only child.  Marcelle filed for divorce in 2012 when Nico was three years old.  A Houston court granted the divorce and ordered the pair to share parenting and custody (more on that later).  Only then did Marcelle abduct Nico to Brazil with the help of her wealthy parents. 

Brann filed suit in Brazil under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  Courts there found that Marcelle had taken the boy illegally, but have refused to order his return to his father on the grounds that Nico has acclimated to his life there.

 

The Racket that is Adoption in this Country

December 13, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) continues from yesterday.
The colloquial term “deadbeat dads” is a common stereotype and colors all aspects of men’s involvement in the adoption process. A Canadian study on attitudes of triad members toward releasing identifying information on adoptees to birthparents found that respondents were much more willing to grant access rights to mothers than to fathers (Sachdev, 1991). The author concludes that members of the adoption community share the prevailing stereotypical views of the birthfather as a “Don Juan” or “phantom father” – that is, little more than a sperm donor.

 

Adoption and Putative Father Registries

December 12, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

In my response to the Washington Post’s article on the parental rights of incarcerated parents, I had occasion to skewer claims by two “experts” that taking children from their parents is OK because they can simply be adopted and therefore have a “forever home.”  As I pointed out, the arithmetic regarding adoption definitively refutes that notion.

That encouraged me to consult the best source of information regarding adoption in the U.S., the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI).  Alas, its website says that DAI has been shuttered since the beginning of this year, but fortunately, its work product is still there.  That means I have the best data available on adoption.


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