More Successes: National Media, Florida Shared Parenting, Massachusetts Alimony

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February 25, 2016

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.
Florida Senate Passes Shared Parenting Bill
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
By a 23 - 15 margin, the Florida Senate has passed Senate Bill 250 that would establish the presumption that equal parenting time is in a child’s best interests. The bill, sponsored by Senator Tom Lee, allows deviation from the equal time standard in a number of different situations, including when parents agree to a different arrangement. Read about it here (Tampa Bay Times, 2/23/16).
"Under current law, judges are supposed to consider 20 criteria and “the best interests of the child” when they write an order. But Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, who sponsored the legislation (SB 250) says the child’s wellbeing is an end goal and that to accomplish that, it’s in the best interests of kids to split time evenly with both parents whenever possible...

“As we look at other child welfare policies that we enact, we always start with the assumption that if it’s in best interest of the child, we want both parents involved and that we want both parents to take responsibility,” said Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville."
Opponents claim the bill would create a “one size fits all” law on parenting time, but the reality is nothing of the sort. Judges will still have discretion to order different parenting arrangements in cases of unfit or dangerous parents, or in several other situations. Senator Lee pointed out that “The legislation allows judges to deviate from the 50/50 timesharing based on the 20 criteria judges use under current law and two additional issues.”

Lee went on to raise another important point.
"What’s more, he said it’s a civil rights issue.

“We have legislation moving year in and year out, some this year, that is designed to create equal rights, but somehow when it comes to the courts it’s not important?” Lee said."
Good point, and one that’s made all too seldom. We value equality in virtually all areas of life and strive to attain it. But when it comes to a child being able to spend equal time with each of two fit, loving parents, we turn away. Why? Equality is in the child’s interests and that of the parents, so what’s the argument against equal parenting time? Lee is correct; in addition to everything else, it’s a civil rights issue. Read more...

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National Parents Organization Still on a Roll
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The National Parents Organization continues to press the importance of equal parenting in the news media. Last week’s newsletter detailed the almost 40 different news hits NPO has garnered in just the first two weeks of this month. And it’s still happening.

NPO star Don Hubin appeared late last week on CBS in Iowa here as part of the Family 411 series that appears on television news outlets across the nation. Cincinnati’s CBS affiliate will also air the piece this week.

Check out the Family 411 video. If anything demonstrates how far we’ve come in the national conversation on how children are parented post-divorce, it does. When we hear from a news anchor on a major state TV news outlet that “overwhelming research” shows that “kids thrive on equal time with both Mom and Dad,” we know we’ve come a long way.

Family 411 features an unmarried father struggling to get time with his twin boys. He says outright that his ex is who decides how much time he gets with the kids. Meanwhile, the video shows the obviously capable and loving father caring for his sons.

By contrast, Family 411 shows a mother who’s in an equal parenting arrangement with her ex-husband. Viewers are told she and her ex are “committed to parenting their son equally.” She adds that the boy is lucky to have “such a great relationship with his dad.” True enough, but I’d add that he’s lucky to have a mother who understands the value of the boy’s having full, relationships with both parents. Read more...

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Bill Filed in Massachusetts House of Delegates to Fix Alimony Reform
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
As readers of the National Parents Organization blog well know, with NPO’s help, Massachusetts substantially reformed its alimony law back in 2011. That reform was far-reaching and much needed. It took much discretion away from judges and for the most part ended permanent alimony. It also allowed payments to end when the payer retired or the recipient began cohabiting with another adult.

But, as readers of the blog also know, the Bay State’s judges were determined that, when it came to retirement and cohabitation at least, the law didn’t mean what the legislature so obviously intended. Hence the need to reform the reform.

NPO’s friend Steve Hitner explains.

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About Us
National Parents Organization
PO BOX 590548
Boston, Massachusetts 02459
(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.
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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.

Recent NPO Blog Posts

Court Hits Kentucky Child Welfare Agency Hit $1 Million + in Fines and Fees

Nebraska Stoops to New Low to Oppose Shared Parenting

Opposition to Shared Parenting - Still Threadbare

Family Attorney Opposes Shared Parenting - Ignorant of Science Supporting It

New Jersey Child Support ‘Sweeps’ Reveal Draconian Nature of Child Support System


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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”

Janet Graham
Kate and Richard Bayer, Members, Executive Committee, Pennsylvania

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

"I have been a step-parent for over 20 years and now am a doting grandmother to two beautiful granddaughters. By spending time with my step-children through the years, I have seen first-hand the wants and needs of children whose parents are divorced or separated. I believe children deserve the opportunity to love and to spend time with both of their parents equally through shared parenting."

By Susan Takach, Member, Ohio