Woozles: Their Role in Custody Law Reform, Parenting Plans and Family Court

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March 26, 2014

NPO Logo National Parents Organization improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting every child's right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.
Woozles: Their Role in Custody Law Reform, Parenting Plans and Family Court
By Linda Nielsen, EdD, Professor, Wake Forest University

Thomas Weissmuller
Linda Nielsen, EdD
What’s a woozle? And what role does it play in child custody decisions and custody law reform? If you remember Winnie the Pooh, he and his friends become obsessed with the idea that they are being stalked by a frightening beast they called a woozle. In fact, they are being deceived by their own footprints as they walk around in circles. In social science a woozle is a belief or a claim based on inaccurate, partial, or flawed data — data that have been repeatedly misrepresented, misinterpreted or “woozled” in ways that end up influencing public opinion, individuals’ decision making, and public policy.

This paper illustrates the woozling process that has contributed to the creation of a powerful and damaging child custody woozle: After parents’ separate, infants and toddlers who spend even one night a week in their father’s care are more irritable, distressed, inattentive, vigilant and anxious with their mothers, and physically stressed. In short, up until the age of four children should live exclusively, or nearly exclusively, with their mothers. The one study that has frequently been proffered as evidence that overnighting has a “deleterious impact” on infants and toddlers is an Australian study commissioned by the attorney general’s office (McIntosh, Smyth, Kelelar & Wells, 2010, Post separation parenting plans: Outcomes for infants and children).

By examining the discrepancies between the actual data and the woozles that have arisen from the study, this paper deconstructs the mythical woozles. For example, the “wheezing woozle” claims that infant wheezing is a valid and reliable measure of stress — stress that is caused by spending more than 3 nights a month in the father’s care. In reality, wheezing is caused by many factors having nothing to do with stress — including mold, pets, cigarette smoke, and carpet in the house. Read more...

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Divorce Corp. — Own It

You may now own, Divorce Corp., the movie and book. When ordering, use your promotional code, 110NPO, for a 10% discount on all purchases. This is a special offer for National Parents Organization readers, members, and volunteers.

“Divorce Corp is the most powerful cinematic indictment of the family courts yet produced. It is especially strong in tracing how high attorney fees, custody evaluation fees and other fees corrupt the original intent of the family courts. If you ever wanted a lesson in how the family courts create a winner-take-all siege mentality among divorcing parents, here it is,” according to Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Chair.

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Establish an Affiliation in Your State

National Parents Organization is working to build a strong affiliate in every state. What will it take to bring National Parents Organization to your state? Leadership. It takes a team of volunteers to organize in your state and to reach out to legislators, media, and other groups who will work with us to make shared parenting the norm.

If you are ready, please contact Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director. Together we can build an affiliate in your state.

California Legislative Update
March 25, 2014 by Michelle Glogovac, Chair, Executive Committee, National Parents Organization of California
In December, January and February, National Parents Organization was able to advance the top two legislative issues for 2014 — a presumption of shared parenting for temporary orders, and a change in terminology to level the field between parents in the courtroom. Both policies were well received, and the California Affiliate was able to secure a Member of the Legislature to draft them. Read more...

Vicky Haigh Update: Banned from Contact with Daughter for Three Years
March 24, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
In the case of Vicky Haigh, it’s more of the same. Here’s my first post on the infamous Ms. Haigh. And here’s the latest article (Daily Mail, 3/20/14). Basically, Haigh is no longer in prison, but she’s once again under a court order to stay away from her daughter, this time for three years and to cease filing claims in family court for the same period of time. Read more...

Oklahoma Judge Guilty in Fraudulent Foster Care Adoption
March 24 , 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
There’s never a dull day when reporting the news on the foster care system. Here’s the latest out of Oklahoma (OK News, 3/2/14). Read more...

Nebraska LB 1000: Almost All Parents Get at Least 35% Parenting Time
March 23, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Moving on from Attorney Margaret Zarbano’s divorced-(pun intended)-from-reality-letter I dealt with in my last post, the actual amended version of LB 1000 that’s now pending before the Nebraska Senate Judiciary Committee is actually a pretty good bill. Read more...

Connecticut Courts Need Not Use GALs
March 22, 2014 by Judge Thomas W. Weissmuller (Ret.). Chair, Executive Committee, National Parents Organization of Connecticut
In her article, I am a Guardian and This is Personal, Renee C. Bauer describes herself as a victim of the system. Bauer's comment actually supports the very concern raised by all parties in domestic relations cases. As a GAL, Bauer has no idea where her job ends. Read more...

In Nebraska, Anti-Shared Parenting’s Last Gasp?
March 21, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Well, I didn’t see this coming. As regular readers will recall, I’ve wondered what the anti-father crowd in Nebraska will pull out of its hat to oppose LB 1000, the shared parenting bill that’s now before the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee. Read more...

An Anonymous Defender of the Family Court Status Quo in Connecticut

March 20, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Meanwhile, an anonymous writer published an op-ed in the same Connecticut Law Tribune, just one week later. Here it is (Connecticut Law Tribune, 3/13/14). It’s an interesting piece of legerdemain, avoiding uncomfortable facts. Read more...

Welcome Home Daddy!

March 20, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Here’s a way-too-touching video about a little girl’s reaction to her father’s homecoming.  It’s not to be missed.


Thanks to Paul for the heads-up.


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“There is nothing more meaningful that we can do to ensure that our children will flourish than to protect their relationship with both parents. The National Parents Organization focuses on significant, practical changes to family law that will protect every child's right to the full, loving involvement of fit parents. The National Parents Organization offers the opportunity to be effective in making changes that will protect the parent-child relationship when parents live apart.”

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The opinions expressed herein are those of our guest authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Parents Organization or its Board of Directors.
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