Steve Hitner’s Guide to Family Court Reform

NPO’s Franklin Makes National Review, Four Other Papers

NPO’s Leadbeater Goes to Bat for Parental Leave

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May 28, 2015

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.
Steve Hitner’s Guide to Family Court Reform
Steven Hitner spearheaded the most far-reaching alimony reform bill in Massachusetts in memory. Amazingly, his organization, Massachusetts Alimony Reform, got the bill passed by a unanimous vote of both houses of the Bay State Legislature. As such, he is uniquely well-placed to advise on how to change existing state law. The National Parents Organization is proud to have Hitner as part of our team in our efforts to reform family laws across the country. Here is Hitner’s “how to” on creating legislative change. — Robert Franklin


Trouble in the Village: A Guide to Changing Law
May 28, 2015 by Steven K. Hitner, Consultant, National Parents Organization
Steve Hitner
Steve Hitner

What does “Trouble in the Village” mean and how does it relate to changing existing law? The answer is simple — legislators do not act unless they have “Trouble in their Village.”

The secret to changing an existing law is proving that there is a problem. In most cases office-holders will not acknowledge that a problem exists. Your job is to dig up the bodies. In other words, find and expose the evidence of the need for family law reform.

The following are the steps necessary to accomplish legislative reform. When I took on alimony reform in Massachusetts, I was told “it’ll never happen.” Well, I proved them wrong. Not only did I make possible the most dramatic social policy change in decades, I did it with a unanimous vote from both houses of the legislature.

Now, let’s get to work. Here’s what you need to begin:
  1. You need horror stories.
  2. You need a website.
  3. You need a dedicated leader.
  4. You need a book of evidence showing the problem.
  5. You need an angel in the media.
  6. You need an angel in the legislature.
  7. You need an “evil” person or group as an adversary.
  8. You need credible victims who will share their situation with the media.
  9. You need second spouses (wives) and women who do not want to become second spouses to tell their stories.
  10. You will need money!
Read more...


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NPO’s Franklin Makes National Review, Four Other Papers
Last week, the National Review Online, the Detroit News, The Fairfax Times, The Cap Times and the Mariannas Variety published Franklin’s editorial on shared parenting that’s reprinted below.

Children Need Both Parents Even after Divorce
By Robert Franklin May 18, 2015
State lawmakers should pass much-needed reform of child-custody laws.


When she and her husband were divorcing, Jennifer Fink felt the way a lot of parents do. She was angry at her husband, thought she was the better parent, and wanted sole custody of their two sons. But the law in her state, Wisconsin, strongly encourages shared parenting of children when Mom and Dad divorce, and that’s what the judge ordered. Now, five years later, Fink, who founded BuildingBoys and is involved in recent efforts to create the White House Council on Boys and Men, has a message for everyone going through a child-custody case: Read more...

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NPO’s Leadbeater Goes to Bat for Parental Leave
And here’s NPO of Virginia’s excellent piece on parental leave published in the Hampton Roads Pilot. Good work, Kristen!

Leadbeater: Virginia has a chance to lead on parental leave

President Barack Obama recently issued a presidential memorandum focused on modernizing federal leave policies for childbirth, adoption and foster care to recruit and retain talent and improve productivity. Virginia, led by a Democratic governor in a state just steps away from our nation’s capital, needs to lead the way on this initiative.

Obama outlined a new plan to help more states create paid-leave programs. Three states — California, New Jersey and Rhode Island — have taken the lead by launching programs offering paid family and medical leave, and Obama believes that more can be done to promote action from the states. Read more...


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National Parents Organization
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(617) 542-9300
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Information Resources

> Share Your Story:

Members share stories of their children and families.
> Advice:
Our most frequently asked questions are posted with answers from experts.
> Forms and Documents:
Many forms and documents are common to many cases in your state or even across the United States.

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 Ned Holstein, National Interim Executive Director. Together we can build an affiliate in your state.

 
California Department of Social Services Wants Greater Secrecy for its Actions
May 27, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
California’s child protective agency, the Department of Social Services, has long been one of the nation’s worst. Stories pouring out of the state showcaseworkers alternately ignoring serious cases of child abuse or neglect andspending inordinate amounts of time on minor cases or those in which no abuseor neglect were found. And woe betidethe parent who asserts his/her rights against the agency. Read more...

Divorce and Custody Data from Bay State County Reveals Need for Family Court Reform
May 25, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
One of the greatest dangers to the status quo in child custody cases is information. Given that the status quo has been notoriously difficult to change over the past couple of decades, it’s no surprise that information on child custody outcomes is hard to come by. Put simply, states don’t keep track of what courts actually order in child custody matters. Read more...

Anti-shared Parenting Blogger: ‘No Bias in Family Courts’
May 24, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
As apologists for the status quo in family courts go, John Bolch is one of the weakest and most transparent. He routinely posts nonsense that it’s hard to believe even he takes seriously. Why Marilyn Stowe gives him a forum on her blog remains a mystery. The man simply has nothing to offer except giving a bad name to the causes for which he fights. Who knows? Maybe that’s Stowe’s ulterior motive. Read more...

Case History: Child Protective Agency Bullies Dad
May 22, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Two days ago I discussed the rights of parents under the Constitution as decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Yesterday I pointed out the many obstacles parents have to clear in order to assert those rights and how parents often don’t have the resources to do so. The fear of retaliation against them by CPS agencies for asserting their rights often forces parents to make the best deal they can with an agency that has far more time and money than they do. Read more...

CPS and Juvenile Courts Routinely Ignore Constitutional Law on Parents and Kids
May 21, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that the Meitivs, the Maryland parents whose fight with Child Protective Services has been so much in the news, intend to sue the agency. Volokh Conspiracy writer and law professor Ilya Somin said that he thought their case would be an easy one to win and I heartily concurred. After all, the law of the land as articulated by the United States Supreme Court clearly says that parents’ decision-making regarding their children may not be interfered with by the state absent a showing of unfitness. Read more...

The Meitivs, Child Protective Services and the U.S. Supreme Court
May 20, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
As readers of this blog well know, United States Supreme Court precedents establish that parents in this country have parental rights and those rights are based in the Constitution and “natural law.” Numerous Supreme Court opinions either hold that or refer to it in dicta. The most recent, Troxel v. Granville, established a presumption that fit parents act in the interests of their children. Among other things, that means the state has no interest in intervening in parental decision-making unless it has proven unfitness on the part of parents. Such is the law of the land. Read more...
 

 
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Volunteer Testimonial

“I have seen three generations of disregard for the actual mental well-being of children by the state and selfish parents and hope that I can help make a difference for those out there that are forced to go through it.”

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of Ohio
 

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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Volunteer Testimonial

"Everyone complains of absentee fathers, but it is so difficult to get the courts to allow joint custody, let alone full custody, or even court-ordered visitation that actually works in real life. We are trying to do our part to help by working with these young men and bringing National Parents Organization to Pennsylvania. "

By Kate and Richard Bayer, Members, Executive Committee, Pennsylvania