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August 16, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Karen Rinaldi’s major failing is her belief that sacrifice can never be done willingly, even joyfully. Her mother told her that motherhood is “all sacrifice,” which of course is utter nonsense, otherwise, why would so many women do it and with such enthusiasm? I have the sneaking suspicion that, had it been anyone in the world other than her mother, we wouldn’t be burdened by Rinaldi’s article. That her own mother sees motherhood as all sacrifice must have touched a nerve in her daughter. Why wouldn’t it? Her statement comes perilously close to a bitter regret about her decision to have kids. That, I suspect, is what sent Rinaldi scurrying to her gender feminism that, in her case, looks a lot like a security blanket.

Whatever the case, Rinaldi plunges straight into the resentful narrative that portrays children and their care as, in some never explained way, not only not part of a woman’s identity, but actually antithetical to it. Only a person who believes that a woman’s highest calling, indeed her only calling, is the world of paid work, however tedious and thankless. All other mothers tend strongly to see motherhood as one of the best things they’ve ever done, fulfilling and very much part of their identity. (BTW, fathers do too.)

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August 14, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

As I said yesterday about Karen Rinaldi’s piece in the New York Times, her idea of “clarity” is her opting to view her chosen subject through a gender feminist lens rather than doing the hard work of a applying logic to facts and arriving at a sensible conclusion. Now, I say “hard” work, but in Rinaldi’s case, her work wouldn’t have been difficult at all, had she actually done it. That’s because her subject is motherhood and whether it’s a “sacrifice” as her mother said or “selfish” as Rinaldi prefers.

Of course, she could have just noted that motherhood can last the better part of a lifetime, so the chances of its being either altruistic or selfish but never both is remote. The facts of the matter are simple. Most women want to have children. They do so because their body’s biochemistry suggests they do so. Many women, once they’re mothers, find powerful and deep gratification and fulfillment from playing the part of mother to their kids. So indeed, there’s an element of selfishness to being a mother. Motherhood gives them what they want.

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August 13, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

It can be truly amazing to watch gender feminists try to puzzle out the simplest, most obvious things and fail. Usually, that’s as a result of inhabiting their ideological boxes for so long that seemingly all of life for them is distorted beyond anything most of us would recognize. I just finished with an article in The Atlantic by Olga Khazan that, while far more grounded in reality than this piece, suffered from the same malady (New York Times, 8/4/17). Ideologies invariably adopt certain notions and never question them. That results in the need to force reality to conform to those notions and reality, being what it is, resists.

Karen Rinaldi wrote the Times piece. She also wrote a novel called “The End of Men” that suffered some pretty damning online reviews. Cindy had this to say:

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August 11, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

A Canadian mother who abducted her then 11-month-old son to Mexico and then Belize has been apprehended by Belizean authorities and returned to Canada to face trial. Robin Trockstad had been embroiled in a bitter custody battle with her husband, Chad Trockstad. From various articles on the subject, it’s impossible to tell if Chad got custody of their son Treyson before or after his ex-wife abducted the boy. The last time Chad saw his son was January 5, 2014.

Interpol put out an alert for Robin and, after three years, Belizean police arrested her about two weeks ago. An arrest warrant had been issued by Canadian police for abduction in contravention of a custody order. As of the date of this article, Chad was in Belize to pick up his son (7 News Belize, 8/9/17). He has a younger child to whom Treyson will be an older brother.

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August 10, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

John Bolch has long been so oblivious to obvious facts about child custody and the law governing it that rarely a week goes by that I couldn’t write something skewering his at once pompously self-assured and wrong accounts of one aspect or another of family courts.

So it’s only fair that, on those rare occasions when he’s right, I say so. And here, he’s right (Marilyn Stowe Blog, 8/7/17). His topic, on which he spends entirely too many words is a simple one: in family law, child support and access by the non-custodial parent are separate issues. A parent who pays child support doesn’t automatically get access and a parent who’s obligated to pay support but doesn’t can still have access to his child. Stated another way, just because Dad doesn’t pay, Mom can’t legally deny access and just because Mom denies access doesn’t mean Dad can stop paying.

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August 9, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Olga Khazan could use a good editor, or in fact any editor at all. As I mentioned in previous pieces, her Atlantic piece runs to 6,350 words and accomplishes astonishingly little. It takes a lot of things for granted that are at best questionable, contradicts itself on almost every page and meanders vaguely. All too often, it picks up a topic only to drop it without a hint of closure.

For example, she decided to look at what some commentators thought about the “Queen Bee” phenomenon. One said that if a female manager founder herself being “bitchy,” she should take an anger management course. Another urged female employees to leave work at work and not mingle their work and private lives. Khazan simply stated those facts and moved on, saying in passing that “What I found was eye-opening, but not in the way I’d hoped.” That of course is in keeping with her take on Joyce Benenson’s research that finds women to be competitive with each other for male attention. She didn’t like the message, so she dropped the subject entirely. If a message isn’t what Khazan “hoped for,” she’s not interested.

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August 7, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Continuing my response to Olga Khazan’s article in The Atlantic about women bullying women at work.

Now, it’s possible that Joyce Benenson’s take on the situation has validity, but doesn’t fully explain women’s alleged antipathy for each other in the workplace. As I said yesterday, Khazan makes no effort to establish that such a problem exists. All she does is cite a few studies to the effect that female employees tend to prefer male bosses. That’s lightyears from showing that, in some general way, women in the workplace seek to undermine each other, much less that men don’t, or do so, but do it less.

But, assuming there’s a problem, Benenson’s analysis, while perfectly appropriate, ignores the fact that, in other situations, women seem to get along just fine. If, for example, women’s soccer teams have less team unity than do men’s, I’ve never heard about it. So it may be that, in many situations, the need to meet certain goals, accomplish certain tasks, simply supersedes the tendency to compete for male attention. Scoring a goal might be one of those needs. So might effectively representing a client in a trial. In short, Benenson’s observations may be right, but too limited to thoroughly describe women’s interactions at work.

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August 6, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Yesterday, I quoted this from Olga Khazan’s article in The Atlantic about women bullying women at work.

Joyce Benenson, a psychologist at Emmanuel College, in Boston, thinks women are evolutionarily predestined not to collaborate with women they are not related to. Her research suggests that women and girls are less willing than men and boys to cooperate with lower-status individuals of the same gender; more likely to dissolve same-gender friendships; and more willing to socially exclude one another. She points to a similar pattern in apes…

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August 4, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

As I so often say, “It’s the zeitgeist.” We live in a world in which a fair amount of public discourse is taken up trying (and often failing) to relearn basic things our grandparents understood well. Fifty years or so ago, we started our process of dumbing down about the nature of the sexes and our relationships to each other. We convinced ourselves of many ideas that don’t survive even casual scrutiny and are now, belatedly, struggling to get back to understandings we never should have lost.

Such is this article (The Atlantic, September, 2017). It’s by someone named Olga Khazan and her topic is, more or less, why women treat each other badly at work. To the extent Khazan or any of her interviewees answers the question, it’s something like “The boys took the ball and they won’t let us play.” Or, to be kinder, “The world of work is a man’s and therefore, women in that world face an uphill climb, so no wonder they’re ‘catty’ with each other.” It’s a long article, running to some 6,350 words, but that’s the gist of it.

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August 3, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

I recently wrote three pieces about the scandalous decision by the California Supreme Court that, forever after, allows child protective agents to remove children from parents absent any showing of abuse, neglect or unfitness on their part. The Court ruled that the mere supposition (there apparently was no evidence) of a substantial risk of harm to the child was sufficient for the state to remove it from its parents.

Having written about that so recently, this caught my eye:

The question arises: What horrors did the real parents do that could justify CPS putting a child into such heinous situations?

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August 2, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This heartbreaking story is, on one hand, just about the couple involved (News.Com.Au, 7/23/17).  But it also reveals a fair amount about the zeitgeist as it pertains to fathers, mothers and children.

A 44-year-old Australian man named Scott and his first wife have three kids.  They’re divorced and Scott is remarried.  He and his second wife have a child of their own, bringing Scott’s total to four.  Apparently, Scott’s first wife is quite cavalier about when she wants him to see their three children.

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July 31, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

In an opinion that does a bit to support single fathers’ rights in adoption cases, the Ohio Supreme Court has stopped an adoption and effectively handed the child over to his father. The case, In re Adoption of P.L.H., is not a sweeping victory, but it’s a victory. Its holding is that, in order to demonstrate that a single father “abandoned” the mother of his child during her pregnancy, thereby rendering his consent to the adoption unnecessary, it’s necessary to show that his actions were “willful” and that the abandonment was permanent. That bar is a pretty high one for anyone promoting an adoption based on paternal abandonment to clear.

The father, C.W. and mother, S.C. were students at the same university in Ohio. He graduated and took a job in Louisiana. While still a student, she visited him during Mardi Gras and became pregnant by him. When she discovered her pregnancy, she told him that she intended to place the child for adoption. C.W. was ambivalent about the adoption. Early on, he told S.C. that he wasn’t certain what he wanted to do.

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July 30, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This continues my discussion of the grave miscarriage of justice that is the California Supreme Court’s decision in the case of In re R.T.

Not only did the Court reach its decision without apparently any evidence with which to support a finding that R.T. runs a “substantial risk of harm,” it approved the child’s removal from her mother’s care despite there being no finding of unfitness, neglect or abuse by her. In a previous appellate court decision, that very course of action was rejected and with good reason. In In re Precious D., another case (like In re R.T.) dealing with an incorrigible daughter whom the mother was unable to control, the court made the obvious and correct observation.

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July 28, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

In yesterday’s piece, I described how the California Supreme Court dramatically expanded state power at the expense of parental rights in the case of In re R.T. R.T.’s mother, Lisa E., is agreed by all to be a fit parent who’s concerned for her daughter’s welfare. She’s done nothing wrong as a mother. She’s never abused or neglected R.T.

Despite that, she can’t control R.T.’s behavior. R.T. has been running away from home for the past 3 ½ years and is now 17. She became pregnant at age 15 and is pregnant again. Her first child is a ward of the state.

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July 27, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

In a much-discussed opinion, the Supreme Court of California has vastly extended the state’s power over children while diminishing parental rights, perhaps unconsitutionally. The case is called In re R.T.

In it, the mother, Lisa E., was faced with a frankly incorrigible teenaged daughter. The girl started running away from home at age 14, became pregnant at 15 and now, at age 17, is pregnant again. Her first child is a ward of the state. Lisa has made every effort within her power to control R.T., including sending her to live with Lisa’s parents, all to no avail. That’s true despite the fact that Lisa’s father has a history of working with troubled youth.

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July 26, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

A Minnesota trial court has ruled that the making of false and defamatory statements about the alleged commission of domestic violence is immune from civil liability due to a public policy of informing the public about DV. Stated another way, not telling the truth about domestic violence is part of state policy of informing the public about domestic violence. Really.

Kurt Maethner and Jacquelyn Maethner were married from 1995 until 2010 when they divorced. Jacki initiated the separation in 2008, much to Kurt’s surprise. After the divorce, and apparently to this day, Jacki retained the last name “Maethner.” At one point, Jacki purchased a house close to where Kurt lived. Kurt remarried in 2013.

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July 24, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The public discourse on men, women, family and “work-life balance” never seems to get matters quite right. This article by Australian Nicola Heath is no exception (ABC, 7/20/17). She’s well-intended, but, like so many others before her, hamstrung by her unexamined assumptions. Heath assumes that, because we live in an age in which gender interchangeability is widely espoused, people generally want to cast aside traditional gender roles. And yet, even a casual look at data from all over the world demonstrates to a certainty that, whatever elite opinion-makers may want us to want, the jury is still out on the abandonment of sex roles.

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July 23, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Another day, another man being ordered to pay child support for a child who’s not his (ABC7, 7/20/17). For what it’s worth, this case is so egregious that even the Drudge Report is reporting on it. And, much like the Carnell Alexander case in Detroit last year, from where I sit, there are multiple reasons why the court should reverse its order.

Houstonian Gabriel Cornejo woke up not long ago to find a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy knocking on his door. The deputy informed him that he owed $65,000 in child support for a child he’d never met or even heard of. The girl was 15 years old at the time.

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July 21, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

At the International Conference on Shared Parenting in Boston this past May, we were privileged to hear a presentation by psychologist Jennifer Harman. We’re equally privileged to read her article on maternal gatekeeping penned along with Attorney Nancy Shannon and registered nurse Shawna Thompson (Omaha World Herald, 7/20/17). Entitled “Maternal Gatekeeping Hurts Children,” the authors pull no punches. Good for them.

I’ve written a fair amount lately about parental alienation, the scurrilous campaign of disinformation about it and efforts to remedy its pernicious effects. I’ve always viewed maternal gatekeeping as, in part, simply one end of the spectrum of alienating behavior that includes everything from the seemingly innocent (“Don’t put the diaper on that way! Here, let me do it!”) to child abduction and even murder. Gatekeepers aren’t necessarily alienators, but their need to separate the child from its father partakes of similar motivations.

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July 20, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

I’ve written before about the enactment into law of NPO’s excellent bill in Kentucky. HB 492 establishes a rebuttable presumption of equal parenting during the pendency of a divorce. Now, all temporary orders must be for equal or nearly equal parenting time unless good cause is demonstrated why another arrangement should be made. In that case, the judge has to explain in writing why unequal parenting time was ordered.

NPO is justly proud of this new law since, among other things, the template laid down in temporary orders is often followed in permanent ones. We’re also proud of NPO’s Matt Hale who spearheaded the effort. Matt did a fine job.

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July 19, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The excellent Linda Nielsen recently wrote this piece about fathers and daughters of divorce and what they can do to mend the relationship that, all too often, is damaged or destroyed by court orders and/or their violation by mothers (The Conversation, 7/10/17). In so doing, Nielsen, perhaps inadvertently, reveals much of the cultural zeitgeist on divorced dads and what they face when they’re kicked to the curb by mothers and courts.

In a 2002 study involving nearly 2,500 children, researchers found that daughters’ relationships with their fathers were more damaged than sons’. What’s more, estranged daughters are more likely than estranged sons to suffer negative effects from the damaged relationship.

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July 17, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Cara Tabachnick’s scurrilous hatchet job on the Family Bridges reunification program naturally included the story of a family whose children weren’t helped by the workshop and now criticize it. As with most of Tabachnick’s piece, that’s only part of the story. The other part, as told to me by Dr. Deirdre Rand of Family Bridges, is that the program actually worked well for the Jeu children, but the judge in the case returned custody to the alienator too quickly and the children relapsed.

It’s interesting that, out of hundreds of families who’ve taken part in Family Bridges over the years, Tabachnick chose to highlight one that actually had been helped. It’s almost as if those who haven’t been helped are few and far between. But she managed to make the Jeu family appear to be one of those, so, in closing my series on Family Bridges, I thought I’d offer a true story about an actual family whose experience with Family Bridges contrasts sharply with Tabachnick’s.

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July 16, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Continuing from Friday’s post on the Erin W. case out of Nebraska.

The trial court and the Nebraska Supreme Court found a way to deny genetic testing to a mother, Charissa W. who wanted to find out whether her ex-husband is the father of her daughter. They’re better acquainted with Nebraska law than I am, so I’ll assume they’re correct on the law.

But the decision raises the obvious question “Why would we ever not want to know who the father of a child is?” For the life of me, I can’t come up with a single reason. The closest I can get is that, as in Erin’s case, the man who’s been acting as dad may not be the actual dad and yet the child believes he is. Learning that he’s not could lead to upset on the child’s part.

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July 14, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This Nebraska Supreme Court ruling appears to be right on the law, but there’s little else about it to content us. Indeed, about the only thing positive about the case is the behavior of the father, Erin W., who, by the way, may not be the father at all.

Erin and Charissa got married while she was pregnant. She says she told Erin the child may not be his, but, whether she did or not, Erin took up the duties of fatherhood for the child. He apparently did so enthusiastically and well. Even Charissa admitted that he’s a good father and the child views him as her father.

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