Shared Parenting Proves Popular Among Voters Again; Jailing Dead-Broke Dads Constitutional?; Right and Left Agree on Shared Parenting

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September 14, 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.
Survey: Strong Support in Maryland for Shared Parenting
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The news out of Maryland is good. It’s actually better than good because it corroborates what we’ve long known - that We the People avidly support equal or nearly equal parenting post-divorce. John Chick of the Maryland chapter of National Parents Organization personally commissioned and paid for a survey on Marylanders’ attitudes toward shared parenting. It was conducted by the highly reputable polling organization, Public Policy Polling, from August 5 - 7 of this year. A total of 580 voters were polled. Unsurprisingly, the results strongly support changing state law to promote shared parenting.

First, here are three general questions asked respondents and their answers:

Q2 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Fatherlessness is a major problem in America today.

Agree 75%
Disagree 12%
Not sure 13%

Q3 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: The role of fathers has changed drastically in the past 50 years.

Agree 63%
Disagree 27%
Not sure 9%

Q4 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Both parents should share responsibility for raising their children.

Agree 93%
Disagree 3%
Not sure 4%

So, overwhelmingly, respondents consider fatherlessness a major problem, think the role of fathers has changed “drastically” and that parents should share equally the responsibility of childcare. So far so good.

Now for the zinger:

Q5 Thinking about parents who get divorced and have to go to court to decide who should get custody of their children, and neither of which have any history of child abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, in general, who do you think should have more rights - the mother, the father, or do you think their rights should be equal?

14% The mother should have more rights in child custody disputes
3% The father should have more rights in child custody disputes
79% The mother and father should have equal rights
Not sure 4%

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Department of Justice, OCSE Urge States to Implement Turner v. Rogers Requirements
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) have teamed up to try to convince states to provide indigent child support defendants the meager due process rights provided them by the U.S. Supreme Court in Turner v. Rogers. Turner of course ruled that, when taken to court by a custodial parent for child support arrears an indigent non-custodial parent has no right to a state-appointed attorney.

But the justices also ruled that due process requires a hearing to determine whether the failure to pay was intentional or the result of inability to pay. Such is the tissue-thin screen separating regular jails from debtors’ prisons. The reality of child support hearings, as related to us by lawyers representing poor non-custodial parents, is that those “hearings” usually last from two to five minutes, that the judge transparently acts as an advocate for the custodial parent/state, that the burden of proof is on the debtor to demonstrate inability to pay, that debtors are usually poor, uneducated and unable to understand what is required to prove an inability to pay and that in most cases, the result - i.e. jail - is a foregone conclusion.

Needless to say, the justices of the Supreme Court know none of those everyday facts about child support enforcement courts. So their cheerful belief in judges’ ability to process huge caseloads in short amounts of time while also conducting detailed fact-finding hearings is, as a practical matter, at odds with reality. Read more...

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Brennan: Schlafly and DeCrow Show Right and Left Should Agree on Shared Parenting
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
And, in a segue from the Maryland survey, comes this latest piece from friend of the National Parents Organization, Terry Brennan (Daily Caller, 9/11/16). His article is occasioned by the death of Phyllis Schlafly who most famously opposed the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s.

Brennan points out that Schlafly was opposed at the time by then-president of the National Organization for Women, Karen DeCrow.

Yet 40 years later, both Phyllis and Karen joined forces to advocate for the same cause: Shared Parenting. In 2013, each enthusiastically accepted the invitation to join Leading Women for Shared Parenting, an organization supporting a rebuttable presumption of shared parenting as a bedrock principal in family law. In conversation, Phyllis and Karen were quick to impress that while their support for shared parenting sprang from different wells, the social benefits of its adoption would be substantial. For both Phyllis and Karen knew, as Family courts openly discriminate against fathers, and put them in a lower-priority position, the result of children being given an average of only 5 days a month with their Father would establish the conditions where a significant number of these children would lose their dad altogether. They were right.

Indeed, NOW’s DeCrow long understood the importance of mothers ceding power over children. In the early 80s, she wrote a letter to the New York Times pointing out that if women were ever to have equal power in the workplace, they’d have to give up power in family courts. That’s nothing but the obvious, or course. No mother can both work full-time and be a full-time caregiver to her kids. There aren’t enough hours in the day nor energy in the body. So to DeCrow, the solution to the problem was simple - equally-shared parenting. She was right then, but all these years later, we’re still fighting to make her vision a reality. Read more...

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Mark Your Calendar Now for a Unique Opportunity in 2017!

One Trip to Boston, Two Great Conferences.

First, attend the International Conference on Shared Parenting 2017 (ICSP 2017) on May 29-31, 2017 at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston.

Then attend AFCC 2017 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel immediately after the close of ICSP 2017 on May 31, 2017, a five minute walk from the Westin.

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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.

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Recent NPO Blog Posts

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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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