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NPO Blog

New York Times Trashes Dad - Again

May 20, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This being the New York Times and a pre- Mothers Day piece, we’re not surprised to find it astonishingly anti-dad and utterly incurious about the realities of family life and the “work-life balance.” (New York Times, 5/4/19)  Put simply, the writer, Darcy Lockman ignores the obvious, the not-so-obvious and basic common sense in order to excoriate fathers.  Doubtless, come Fathers Day, she’ll turn her sights on moms. In the meantime, as an attack on dads generally, it’s also an attack on their right to have meaningful relationships with their kids post-divorce.  After all, if fathers are as bad a bunch of ne’er-do-wells as Lockman pretends, why should they have even part-time custody of their kids?

It’s the same old complaint we read every year, usually several times a year: mothers, even working mothers pull a second shift; they do the lion’s share of the childcare and that’s not fair to them; fathers are clueless louts who not only don’t parent the kids correctly, they don’t do it very much.  Needless to say, mothers are angry about the matter.  Of course they are.

 

Texas CPS Drops Appeal in Mason Bright Case

May 18, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Texas Child Protective Services has dropped its appeal of a $127,000 sanctions case against it (Houston Chronicle, 5/16/19).  I first wrote about the case here.

Last July, little Mason Bright, then five months old, fell forward and hit his head on the driveway.  His mother, Melissa, took him to Texas Children’s Hospital where doctors found two skull fractures and what seemed abnormal bleeding on his brain.  That spurred a “child abuse pediatrician” to say that abuse of Mason must have been the cause.  Later, better-informed medical opinions said that Mason had a rare clotting disorder that could explain the bleeding and that it’s not unusual for such a fall to cause more than one fracture.

But CPS had already acted.  They took Mason from his parents, Melissa and Dillon Bright, and placed him 40 miles away with a relative.  That arrangement didn’t work out and soon Mason was back with his parents.  The Brights had understood that his placement with the relative was temporary, so, when a caseworker contacted them to ask how the little boy was, they happily responded with updated medical information and happy-child photos.

 

Minnesota: Anti-Shared Parenting Forces Still Have Nothing to Say

May 17, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The same article I wrote about yesterday goes on from Scott Vogel’s story about spending $130,000 and three years of his life trying to get more than about 14% parenting time with his son and daughter (KARE11, 5/14/19).  It discusses a bill before the legislature that would establish a presumption of equal parenting.
State Representative Peggy Scott, R-Andover, is leading an effort to change the law.
She and a long list of supporters feel it’s time for the law to catch up with culture.
“It's a winner and a loser,” said Scott. “It's a contest to see who can be a better parent in the eyes of the court. And that's not fair to the kid.”
Yes, the idea that there has to be a “winner” parent and a “loser” parent has always meant that, whichever parent comes out on top, little Andy or Jenny is the loser.  Going from seeing Dad every day and forming an attachment to him to seeing him only four days per month is a trauma for kids.  I hope we’ll someday look back on that routine practice of family courts and call it ‘child abuse,’ because that’s what it is.  It’s injurious to children.  That we have so much science demonstrating the fact and yet still marginalize dads in their children’s lives is not defensible, absent unfitness or abuse by the marginalized parent.

 

Minnesota: Fit Father Shoved to the Sidelines

May 16, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Here’s a balanced and informative article on the push for shared parenting in Minnesota (KARE11, 5/14/19).  NPO’s good friend, the redoubtable Molly Olson has been battling the state legislature on behalf of shared parenting for well over a decade now, so it’s good to see her getting a bit of a boost from the press.

The article starts with Scott Vogel and his donnybrook in family court.
Unable to agree on a schedule for the kids, Vogel took their case to court where he has spent three years and more than $150,000 hoping a judge will award him equal parenting time.

 

Nebraska: Has a Presumption of Equal Parenting Entered the Law Unheralded?

May 15, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The recent Nebraska case of Dowding v. Dowding gives us a good opportunity to take a second look at our fairly invariable support for equal parenting.  This blog has always recognized that there are plenty of instances in which equal - or even shared – parenting either cannot work or isn’t in a child’s interests.  Serious child abuse is one example, parental unfitness is another and significant geographic separation of the parents is another.  None of those is present in Dowding and yet the court’s decision to grant primary custody to the father isn’t clearly wrong.  Neither is it clearly right.

Timothy and Cameo Dowding were married for about three years, but had an ongoing relationship well before that.  They had a son, Treton, in 2010, but separated in 2016.  Because they weren’t married at the time Treton was born, they both signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity to establish Timothy as his father.

So it was altogether strange that, when their divorce pleadings were filed, Cameo alleged that Timothy wasn’t Treton’s dad and demanded genetic testing.  The court refused the request because, under Nebraska law and the circumstances of the case, the only way to rescind an Acknowledgement of Paternity is to produce evidence that it was brought about by “fraud, duress or material mistake of fact.”


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