Can Fathers Sue Courts Under 'Disparate Impact' Theory?

TN Woman Jailed for 'Assault' on Fetus by Methamphetamine

New Warshak Paper on Parental Alienation

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July 1, 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.
Can Fathers Sue Courts Under ‘Disparate Impact’ Theory?
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Will last week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court permitting same-gender couples to marry have any impact on the movement for equal parenting following divorce? It’s a question many people asked immediately after the opinion was announced.

My guess is that it will have no direct impact. The right of same-gender couples to marry has little legal relation to the importance to children of keeping both parents in their lives when the parents split up. The value of both parents is addressed to the “best interests of the child” standard that’s already found in Supreme Court precedent. As I see it, constitutional law is already where it needs to be as regards parental rights. What needs to change is factual - the awareness of state legislatures that children do best with both parents involved in their lives, an arrangement family courts need to stop obstructing.

But another, far less heralded opinion was issued by the Court holding, as it has in previous cases, that state action that creates a disparate impact on the basis of a suspect category like race, creates a cause of action under federal civil rights laws (Wall Street Journal, 6/25/15). That is, a plaintiff seeking to sue need not produce evidence of an intention on the part of the defendant to discriminate. Here’s how this article described the case in question: Read more...

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TN Woman Jailed for ‘Assault’ on Fetus by Methamphetamine
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
A Tennessee woman is the first to be jailed under a new state law that makes it a criminal offense to ingest certain drugs while pregnant (ABC, 6/13/15). Mallory Loyola, 26, was charged with a misdemeanor when both she and her new baby tested positive for methamphetamine. The law only went into effect earlier in June.

"Hopefully it will send a signal to other women who are pregnant and have a drug problem to seek help. That's what we want them to do," [Monroe County Sheriff, Bill Bivens] said.

Of course making drug use a criminal offense may have the opposite effect; it may encourage women to keep the behavior secret rather than seeking treatment. That’s certainly the conclusion many who oppose the new law have drawn. Read more...

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New Warshak Paper on Parental Alienation
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Dr. Richard Warshak has a new paper published by the peer-reviewed journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. The title is “Ten Parental Alienation Fallacies that Compromise Decisions in Court and in Therapy.” It’s aimed at mental health professionals, but could usefully be read by family lawyers and judges too. As the title indicates, its purpose is to correct common misconceptions about alienated children, their diagnosis and treatment. The article contains practice recommendations for therapists.

Here’s the abstract of the article:

False beliefs about the genesis of parental alienation and about appropriate remedies shape opinions and decisions that fail to meet children’s needs. This article examines 10 mistaken assumptions: (a) children never unreasonably reject the parent with whom they spend the most time, (b) children never unreasonably reject mothers, (c) each parent contributes equally to a child’s alienation, (d) alienation is a child’s transient, short-lived response to the parents’ separation, (e) rejecting a parent is a short-term healthy coping mechanism, (f) young children living with an alienating parent need no intervention, (g) alienated adolescents’ stated preferences should dominate custody decisions, (h) children who appear to function well outside the family need no intervention,


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

Coming Soon: Vasalgel
June 29, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Here’s a pretty good roundup of the alternatives for male contraception that may be coming down the pike in a few years (Telegraph, 6/18/15). It’s an article by Aaron Hamlin, who’s the Executive Director of the Male Contraceptive Initiative and, as such, well-informed. Read more...

Senate Finance Committee Investigating Foster Care Industry
June 28, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The nation’s foster care system is getting an in-depth look by no less than the United States Senate’s Finance Committee as reported here (Buzzfeed, 6/24/15). Not the whole foster care system of course, but one important part of it, the private company, National Mentor Holdings. Read more...

Virginia Dad Gains Parental Rights Despite Sperm Donor Statute
June 26, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Occasionally, we run across a case like this. They’re rare, but they do exist, most notably in the case of Jason Patric whose ex, Danielle Schreiber tried for several years (and may be still trying) to keep him out of the life of their son, Gus. She attempted to do that via a California statute meant to protect sperm donors from being tagged for child support for children toward whom they never intended to play the paternal role. Read more...

New Research: Fathers More Important than Ever
June 25, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
For decades we’ve known the value of fathers to children. Sociology and psychology have demonstrated the countless ways in which — long-term and short — good father-child relations mean better outcomes for kids. And of course the fathers are happier when they have meaningful, full relationships with their children. All the publications on the subject would fill a library. Read more...

Democrats Fire Back at Republicans on Child Support Reform
June 24, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Unfortunately, reform of child support may be becoming embroiled in presidential politics — something that’s almost completely irrelevant to the issue. Last week, I wrote this piece in response to a press release issued by various Congressional Republicans who’ve filed a bill that would block the reforms put together by Commissioner Vicki Turetsky of the Office of Child Support Enforcement. Among other things, I pointed out that these proposed reforms have been in the works for years and public commentary on them was requested last fall. I find it odd that now, just weeks before they’re to be finalized, a few Congressmen and Senators would decide to try to block them. Read more...
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“I am excited to join National Parents Organization as their Military Parent Advocate. Military families are being broken apart because of a lack of understanding in the family law courts. I believe that children benefit from access to both parents, regardless of their military status. I look forward to advocating for legislation that protects military parents against discrimination in child custody determinations.””

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