That said, there is a significant underlying and common thread connecting these shooters that continues to be overlooked — fatherless children. While there are special interests that defend the status quo in family court proceedings, the truth is that 80 percent of child custody cases result in one parent having primary custody and the other — most commonly the father — relegated to the role of visitor in his child’s life.
Fortunately, Kansas and Missouri legislators are considering shared parenting legislation — Kansas Senate Bill 257 and Missouri Senate Bill 645 — that would make certain children impacted by divorce do not lose the important bonds they have with both parents.
Courts rule in favor of mothers in five out of every six custodial hearings. Statistics also show that custodial mothers are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty as custodial fathers.
Dr. Ned Holstein, the founder of the National Parents Organization, which promotes shared parenting legislation, argues that the legal establishment is preventing reform.
“This is a classic case of special interests versus what the public generally believes,” he said to Manila Chan of RT America.
The House bill unanimously passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last week, and after three years of educating legislators about the benefits of shared parenting, including passage of a new state law in 2016, we feel this is the year that a “rebuttable presumption” of equal parenting time can actually be passed into law.
Essentially, the proposal translates into starting the family court conversation at shared parenting, versus the sole custody status quo. The bottom line: Research overwhelmingly points to shared parenting as the best scenario for children, their families and society after divorce or separation, and this proposal seeks to align our laws with scientific evidence.
In the spring of 2016, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a shared parenting bill written by a blue-ribbon Task Force appointed by former Governor Deval Patrick, but the Senate did not act on the bill before the Legislature adjourned. We can help solve our high crime rates with shared parenting. We have known this for years, but have not acted – so Massachusetts lawmakers should enact the Task Force’s bill now.
This may seem like a different matter altogether. But to understand the connection between divorce law and crime, first examine a straightforward fact – 85 percent of prisoners were raised in single-parent households without fathers. There is abundant evidence supporting the idea that fatherlessness is a potent cause of crime. People who have grown up in high crime neighborhoods know this well. Denzel Washington, for instance, just reminded us of the crisis of fatherlessness as the root cause of crime in his childhood neighborhoods.
“It’s absolutely soul crushing to have all those moments lost with my kids, ” explained Ron Holm of Kansas City, Kansas.
Holm said his divorce is why he is hoping for change.
“I went from being a stay at home parent to every other weekend and Wednesday night,” added Holm.
Holm works for the National Parents Organization-Kansas Chapter. The group is pushing for changes in the way custody is given during divorce cases.
"For a year, I tried to fight to get into a courtroom to be able to explain my and be able to see my again. For a year, I watched my kids fade from my life," said one father Paul Swaneson.
Members of the National Parents Organization said clear and convincing evidence should be the standard in all custody cases before judges, and say nearly equal time with parents is in the best interest for children.
Similar measures are cropping up in states across the country as part of a push to promote involvement by fathers and co-parenting.
Proponents say the measures are better for children. They point to research showing benefits for children raised by two parents. But critics contend creating a presumption of equal time discourages parents from reaching their own agreement.