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October 18, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

One of the invariable exceptions to (what should be) the rule of shared parenting is domestic violence. Essentially every researcher in the field of children’s welfare and parenting arrangements post-divorce reminds readers/listeners that, while shared parenting is best for kids, if a parent is violent toward the other or the kids, then shared parental care isn’t indicated.

That’s sensible enough until we remember what is and what isn’t domestic violence. The domestic violence envisioned by psychologists when discussing shared parenting is, I suspect, very different from what ever-expanding “definitions” by legislatures and courts deem it to be.

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

If you want to know what the divorce system in the United States is really like, read this well-written and thoughtful article (A Voice for Men, 10/14/17). It’s by a Kansas father, Paul Schwennesen. He’s intelligent and observant and his tale of his ongoing divorce and custody case makes clear that our system for deciding child custody is madness. Worse, as Schwennesen realizes, his case is far from the worst. Poor fathers have it far worse in family court than he does. Those with limited educations do too.

A couple of years ago, my wife of fourteen years went down to the courthouse and filed for divorce—nothing noteworthy in this I’m afraid, except that it initiated a legal process that utterly wrecked me and my family. I was evicted from my home, isolated from my children, and compelled to bankroll an extraordinary legal vendetta against my natural role as a father—all without the slightest legal pretext. After two and a half years, I’ve come to recognize the dismaying truth that the legal deck is overwhelmingly stacked against me, and that only with a full commitment of every ounce of resolve and resourcefulness can I hope to reclaim my role as father. The desperation caused by this stunning iniquity is unhealthy for me and my children, to be sure, but the problem is even broader than that: fatherhood, especially what I call “working fatherhood,” is under assault, and our culture is willfully oblivious to it.

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October 15, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This is a terrible bill (Chronicle of Social Change, 10/9/17). But I support it. I do so because it slightly improves a terrible situation. It’s a proposed law that would create a federal registry of putative fathers that all states would have to consult in adoption cases prior to finalizing the adoption. In short, it would federalize the scheme of putative father registries that now exist in 34 states.

Now, I’ve always criticized putative father registries. I do so because they’re specifically designed to deprive fathers of their right to notice when their children are placed by mothers for adoption. Against all that’s sensible, they place the burden of establishing his right to notice of the adoption proceeding on an unmarried father who may well not even know that the child exists. In registry states, if an unmarried man has sex with a woman, he’s required to file a form with the state saying he’s the father of whatever child eventuates, if any. If he doesn’t, his child can be adopted without his knowledge or consent.

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Ohio NPO Members and Allies,

NPO has just been informed that Senate Bill 125, the child support bill that would make dramatic changes in Ohio law, will receive a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee this coming Tuesday, October 17. This is likely to be the final hearing before the Committee votes on the bill.

SB 125 would make some very good changes in Ohio's child support laws. However, as currently drafted, it has several serious flaws that make it impossible for NPO to support the bill in its current form.​

Unfortunately, I will not be able to represent NPO in person. I will be at an important meeting with representatives in the Ohio House concerning NPO's shared parenting bill. I will, of course, be submitting written testimony on SB 125 giving NPO's official position on the bill.

I encourage those who can to attend the hearings and provide brief, focused testimony. Here are some documents that will provide useful information on SB 125.
If you're unable to attend, you can also provide written testimony. In either case, you should complete this Judiciary Committee Witness Form and submit it either in person or with your written testimony. (In filling out the form, do not indicate that you are a representative of National Parents Organization. But, in your testimony do indicate your affiliation with NPO.)

With love for our children,

Donald C. Hubin, Ph.D.
Ohio Chair of the Executive Committee
Member, NPO Board of Directors

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

If you think fathers in the U.S. have it tough, you’re right, but nowhere near as tough as do Israeli dads.

I’ve written a fair amount about the horror show that is the family court system in Israel. They make no pretense of fairness or doing what’s best for kids. In Israel, children of divorce get essentially no relationship with their fathers until they’re seven. The meager visitation periods are carried out at supervised locations only. If a father needs to travel abroad, even for a brief period, he has to post a bond in the amount of 100% of the child support he’s required to pay for all the years he’s required to pay it. Feminist organizations oppose every effort to improve children’s relationships with their fathers, even minor ones. As far as I can tell, that opposition is invariably successful.

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October 12, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This Nebraska Court of Appeals decision may prove to be important. Nominally, it makes no new law nor expands existing law. But what the trial court did and what the appellate court approved can be read as deeming equal parenting post-divorce as appropriate regardless of the level of conflict between the parents. What’s remarkable about that is that it’s in line with the science on shared parenting and parental conflict.

As Wake Forest University Professor Linda Nielsen has repeatedly pointed out, the research on parental conflict, shared parenting and child well-being shows that it’s the quality of the parent-child relationship that matters most to a child’s welfare and that, absent abuse or unfit parenting, equal parenting tends to produce the best outcomes for kids. Contrary to the claims of those who would sideline fathers in children’s lives, shared parenting doesn’t just work because the parents get along. It works in relationships in which there are high levels of conflict and low.

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

As with so many articles that seek to find every situation in society to be unfair to women, this one is all-too short on details (ABC, 10/8/17). It’s so short in fact that we can’t tell who did what or what the results were. All we know in the end is that we’re supposed to feel sorry for Kate and Kristal.

That’s because they upped and left their kids in favor of job opportunities and someone has criticized them for doing so. Or maybe they didn’t. It’s hard to tell.

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

This Pew Research survey offers a pretty accurate image of a somewhat limited range of factors about fathers and attitudes toward fatherhood. All in all it is, as we’ve come to expect, a picture of fathers struggling to find their way to a satisfactory fatherhood amid the competing and contradictory demands of economics, the workplace, traditional sex roles and changing ones. For dads, it’s not easy.

Dads are just as likely as moms to say that parenting is extremely important to their identity. Some 57% of fathers say this, compared with 58% of mothers. Most dads seem to appreciate the benefits of parenthood – 54% report that parenting is rewarding all of the time, as do 52% of moms. Meanwhile, 46% of fathers and 41% of mothers say they find parenting enjoyable all of the time.

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October 8, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This article appearing as it does in The Guardian, we wouldn’t expect to make a lot of sense or to challenge ideas routinely expressed in The Guardian, but even so, it’s pretty weak tea (The Guardian, 10/2/17). It seeks readers’ sympathies for women (and perhaps a few men) who are “involuntarily” childless. Or not. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what the author, Stefanie Marsh, is talking about, a fact that I suspect is no accident.

Now, I understand that there are people who genuinely desire having children and, for some legitimate reason, can’t. And some of them are wise enough and moral enough to refuse the blandishments of the “single mothers by choice” crowd who don’t much care about the welfare of children raised without two parents. Those people indeed do have a measure of sympathy from me.

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

Last time I cited a Tennessee appellate court’s decision that demonstrated its sensible and fact-based grasp of the concept of parental alienation. I pointed out that the opinion does a much better job of describing PA than any of the several articles I’ve written about that seek to cast doubt on the reality of PA.

The same holds true of the court’s understanding of the Family Bridges program that seeks to mend the rift between alienated kids and their targeted parents.

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October 5, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

In the not too distant past, I’ve commented unflatteringly on the attempts by two different writers to cast aspersions on both the concept of parental alienation and what’s apparently the best effort to date to deal constructively with it, i.e. the Family Bridges workshop.

The animus against the concept of parental alienation is driven almost solely by those who would have us believe that children don’t need fathers in their lives. Of course either parent can alienate children, but PA tends strongly to be an opportunistic phenomenon. The parent who has the most time with the children is best situated to alienate them from the other parent. Since mothers overwhelmingly have primary custody of their children, alienating parents tend to be mothers and their targets fathers. So it’s the anti-dad crowd that tries to get us to believe that PA is simply a clever ruse by fathers to wrest custody from mothers.

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

But, as with all such articles, Mark Regnerus’ piece in the Wall Street Journal, about which I wrote yesterday, doesn’t stop at being merely misandric (Wall Street Journal, 9/29/17). Its sole example of the male sex is a 24-year-old whose ambition in life appears to be having casual sex with as many women as possible. Had Regnerus quoted a more mature man of course, he’d have gotten a more mature response, but depicting men in a positive light isn’t on his agenda, so the pseudonymous “Kevin” is what we’re left with.

No, Regnerus isn’t just misandric, but his misandry is all it takes for him to miss a lot, possibly the most important aspect of his chosen topic. Like Brad Wilcox and George Will before him, Regnerus wouldn’t dream of asking himself whether women might be part of the problem of the decline in marriage rates. Oh, he delves into contraception and rightly notes that, if women didn’t make sex quite so available to men, those men would probably place a higher “price” on it. And that would perhaps increase the marriage rate.

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

I suppose we should celebrate this article (Wall Street Journal, 9/29/17). After all, we live in a time when American society, culture and politics seem remarkably polarized. But the linked-to article, appearing as it does in a right-leaning publication, agrees wholeheartedly with the Left. It does so by placing the “blame” for declining marriage rates squarely at the feet of men. Yes, if men weren’t so feckless and irresponsible, marriage rates would increase, society would be more stable and God would be in His heaven and all right with the world.

The writer, sociology professor Mark Regnerus leaves no doubt about what he thinks of men when he begins his piece by introducing readers to “Kevin.”

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October 1, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This past week, Australian Attorney General George Brandis announced that a thorough review of family law will be conducted. Now, to many, that may sound like good news. After all, Australia is one of the least father-friendly countries in the English-speaking world, so changes to family law are much needed. The question arises, however, whether the upcoming review will improve matters or be a fig leaf to hide the fact that nothing for the better is in fact being done. Alas, I fear the latter to be the case.

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September 29, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Still more information, this time from Pew Research, tells us that, despite the constant exhortations of gender warriors for almost 50 years, men and women still prefer traditional gender roles to those on offer in our Brave New World.

Researchers Kim Parker and Renee Stepler examined the attitudes of almost 5,000 adults regarding the importance they place on earning for men and women in a family. Specifically, is being able to support a family an important attribute for being a good partner? Unsurprisingly, both men and women voted strongly in favor of that for men and much less so for women. And, as we know, each sex acts on the values they expressed to the researchers. That is, men earn more than do women.

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September 29, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Still more information, this time from Pew Research, tells us that, despite the constant exhortations of gender warriors for almost 50 years, men and women still prefer traditional gender roles to those on offer in our Brave New World.

Researchers Kim Parker and Renee Stepler examined the attitudes of almost 5,000 adults regarding the importance they place on earning for men and women in a family. Specifically, is being able to support a family an important attribute for being a good partner? Unsurprisingly, both men and women voted strongly in favor of that for men and much less so for women. And, as we know, each sex acts on the values they expressed to the researchers. That is, men earn more than do women.

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

Thanks to the Texas Fathers Rights Movement, we now have more data on what family courts actually do when ordering child custody and parenting time. It’s long been one of the most serious problems of the fight for parental equality that states don’t routinely keep that data.

As I’ve said many times, doing so wouldn’t be difficult. At the end of every divorce and custody case, the parties or their attorneys should be required to fill out a simple form describing who got primary custody, and what parenting time the non-primary custodial parent received. That information would then be entered into a digital database that could be accessed by anyone wanting to know the facts of what family courts actually do.

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

As bad as I thought it was from the descriptions offered by The Guardian newspaper and others, the substituted Practice Directive for British family courts may actually be worse. Beyond question it is so vague and non-specific on vital points of its chosen subject, i.e. domestic violence in child custody cases, that judges are given broad enough discretion to do virtually anything they wish. And of course, this being the U.K., such discretion is all but certain to lead to the further marginalization of fathers in their children’s lives. Given that the directive itself seems to have come in response to a complaint by Women’s Aid that proved to be without basis in fact comes as no surprise. That conclusion is only bolstered by the fact that the judges deciding the Practice Directive utterly ignored the fact that mothers commit vastly more child abuse (including murder) and neglect than do fathers.

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September 25, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Last winter I posted three pieces here, here and here on the outrageous usurpation of parliamentary authority by the British family court judiciary.  It did so in the persons of Sir James Munby and Mr. Justice Cobb who issued substituted “Practice Direction 12 J” that all but demands that courts limit fathers’ access to their children at the very mention of domestic violence by the mother. 

In those posts, I detailed much of what was wrong with PD12J.  Most importantly, it’s based on a claim by the virulently misandric organization, Women’s Aid, that fathers in the U.K. had killed 19 children over the course of a decade.  I pointed out that mothers killed far more children than fathers and that, tragic as those 2-per-year slayings were for those involved, that number is simply too small to warrant a change of policy.  About one million children were involved in their parents’ divorce over the course of those 10 years.

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September 24, 2017 by Mike McManus 

A Shared Parenting Act was introduced by Rep. Jim Runestad in the Michigan Legislature that would give divorced fathers shared custody and equal parenting time with their children as mothers.

“Divorced fathers are devalued, disparaged and forcefully disengaged from their children’s lives,’ asserts Dr. Edward Kruk, who leads Co-Parenting After Divorce. “Researchers have found that for children, the results are nothing short of disastrous.” Some 71% of high school dropouts are fatherless and 85% of youth in prison have an absent father.

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Now is the time for action! Make your voice heard!

September 22, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Ohio Representative Sarah LaTourette (R, District 26), has just put out a co-sponsor request form to her colleagues in the Ohio House of Representatives for the NPO-sponsored bill to create a presumption of equal shared parenting during temporary orders. Passage of this bill will be an important step toward the promotion of equal shared parenting in Ohio.

We need to have as many Ohio representatives as possible sign on as co-sponsors. I'm delighted to report that, within a half hour of Representative LaTourette putting out the call for co-sponsors, Three Ohio representatives contacted Representative LaTourette's office to ask to sign on as co-sponsors. These legislators are: Rep. Theresa Gavarone (R, District 3), whose law practice deals with these sorts of cases, Rep. Jim Butler (R, District 41), and Rep. Jeffrey Rezabek (R, District 43). 

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

I’ve written a fair amount about how, despite the hectoring of gender feminists for almost five decades now, men and women still tend to take on roles within male/female relationships that have a distinctly traditional tint to them. When little Andy or Jenny comes into the world, Mom tends to decrease her paid work to do childcare and Dad tends to up his hours to compensate. That goes some way to explain not only women’s lower earnings, but also their lower savings rates, slower advancement in the workplace, etc.

The data on that and a wide variety of studies bear out my conclusions. This analysis of similar information out of Canada and its statistical agency, Statistics Canada, shows much the same thing. Indeed, a simple review of many of the section headings tells the story.

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

Canada’s statistics-gathering agency, imaginatively named Statistics Canada, released a lot of data last week and various commentators are beginning to, well, comment. Such is this article that gets a lot right (Financial Times, 9/19/17). Any piece that includes the following message can’t be all bad.

You want to raise your kid’s chances of being poor? Get divorced.

It should come as no surprise that, in Canada as throughout the English-speaking world, single-parenthood and poverty go hand in hand. That of course means kids of single parents are much more likely than kids in two-parent families to live in poverty. Among other things, it’s worth remembering that public policy, in a variety of ways, promotes exactly that. You read that right; public policy promotes divorce which promotes child poverty. No one in government will ever admit such a thing, but facts don’t lie.

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BY ROBERT HAYDEN

Sundays too my father got up early 
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, 
then with cracked hands that ached 
from labor in the weekday weather made 
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. 
When the rooms were warm, he’d call, 
and slowly I would rise and dress, 
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 

Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven out the cold 
and polished my good shoes as well. 
What did I know, what did I know 
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

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