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.
NPO-ICSP 2017 preliminary program available now! #NPO-ICSP2017 npo-icsp2017.org/program/
Registration & Housing for NPO-ICSP 2017 available now. Make sure to register by April 15 for our reduced early bird fees! npo-icsp2017.org/registrationhousing/
Questions can be directed to [email protected]
February 27, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Back in 2015, the Arkansas Department of Department of Children and Family Services took seven children from their family on the slimmest of pretexts. The parents complained to their state senator, Alan Clark, who decided to investigate. That proved harder than he expected. It seems even a state senator’s power doesn’t rate very highly at the DCFS. Of course, to the rest of us, the secrecy with which child welfare agencies operate is nothing new. If one of us were to seek information about a suspicious case, we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that we weren’t entitled to any.
February 26, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
What Laurie Udesky termed a “dubious theory,” others far more knowledgeable than she call Parental Alienation “child abuse.” Udesky might want to pay attention, but somehow I doubt she will. None other than the chief executive of the U.K.’s Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), Anthony Douglas called parental alienation abuse or neglect (Telegraph, 2/12/17).
And parental alienation is no rare thing in family courts across the pond.
February 24, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The last few pieces I’ve posted have been about the attack, by the “protective” mother movement on fathers and the idea of parental alienation. One of the more telling aspects of that movement is that they tend strongly to believe that any allegations of abuse levelled at a father by a mother should be taken at face value. So it wasn’t unusual to see, in Laurie Udesky’s piece, the elision of the difference between allegations of abuse and actual findings of abuse.
I checked the website for the Center for Judicial Excellence and sure enough, to this day it includes a reference to Jonea Rogers as a “protective” mother. The fact that Rogers abducted her child, alleging abuse by the father, Ian Stone, despite the police, the local child protective agency and possibly medical authorities as well being unable to corroborate her claims, apparently doesn’t disqualify Rogers as a “protective” mother. As I said yesterday, Dr. Nancy Faulkner’s summary of the science on children’s welfare and parental child abduction strongly suggests that, if either parent was abusive, it was Rogers, not Stone. And of course, way back in 2007, Stone got sole custody of his and Rogers’ daughter, so apparently the family court also disbelieved Rogers. Finally, a Google search for Ian Stone turned up no subsequent claims of child abuse made by anyone. Here’s my 2009 take on the Rogers/Stone case.
February 23, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Back in 2000, Dr. Nancy Faulkner reprised the information on parental child abduction here. She made it clear that the state of the science was that parental child abduction is child abuse. Indeed, the title of her piece was “Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse.”
"Because of the harmful effects on children, parental kidnapping has been characterized as a form of child abuse" reports Patricia Hoff, Legal Director for the Parental Abduction Training and Dissemination Project, American Bar Association on Children and the Law. Hoff explains:
February 22, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents
Monday’s post was about a thoroughly scurrilous article penned by Laurie Udesky. It masquerades as journalism but is anything but. Udesky channeled the claims of the “protective” mother movement and made next to no effort to locate anyone who could provide balance.
As I mentioned, much of the bias in her article stems from the fact that she chose one type of case, in which apparently abusive fathers received some form of child custody despite the mother’s allegations against him, and no others. Why not give an example of an abusive mother? Why not give an example of a court that investigated claims of abuse and drew the correct conclusion? As to parental alienation – that Udesky dubbed a “dubious” theory - why not interview a qualified expert who understands that PA is all too real? Why not offer a case in which parental alienation occurred and the judge correctly identified it and issued the appropriate order?
February 20, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The “protective parents” movement is at it again. Here’s the latest article channeling their mostly bogus claims. It’s by Laurie Udesky and, to anyone not versed in the matter of parental alienation and allegations of child abuse made in family courts for the purpose of gaining the upper hand in custody battles, the piece would certainly appear authoritative. Udesky presents three heart-rending cases in which an apparently abusive parent managed to get custody over the objections of the other parent who may well have been trying to protect the child. Such cases make for painful reading and no one dismisses them lightly.
I can’t comment on Udesky. She’s a long-time journalist with some awards to her credit. But if her linked-to piece is any indication, she’s no journalist, she’s an advocate and a highly unscrupulous one at that. She’s a zealot.
February 19, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Finally, John Bolch delivers himself of this gem.
And the final myth is one that all of this fatherhood talk brought to mind. It is this: that for separated fathers courts and lawyers are the enemy, preventing them from retaining a relationship with their children. I find this particularly ironic, given that every day courts and lawyers do entirely the opposite, working hard to ensure that father/child relationships are maintained. If a father is denied contact with his child by the mother, where does he go? To the court. And the court will do everything it can to ensure that contact does take place, unless it is one of those relatively rare cases when it is not in the interests of the child. As for the lawyers, those acting for the father will do all they can on his behalf, as I did many times myself, and even those lawyers acting for recalcitrant mothers recognise they have a duty to consider the child’s welfare at all times. In short, courts and lawyers are the friend of fatherhood, not the enemy.
February 17, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Smugly wrong. That about describes John Bolch. He writes piece after piece at the site for the Marilyn Stowe blog and all but invariably simply substitutes the most outrageous and inaccurate claims for known reality. Weirdly, it never seems to occur to Bolch that providing some sort of factual support for his opinions might make them more acceptable to his readers. That’s doubly weird given that the man used to practice law. My experience with law practice was that judges and the law itself always demand evidence in support of legal claims and, if a lawyer doesn’t provide any, that lawyer loses the case. I’ll take a wild guess that it’s the same in the U.K. Of course, now that I think about it, maybe that’s why Bolch no longer practices; the whole “producing evidence” thing is clearly beyond him now and maybe it was then too.
In his most recent embarrassment, Bolch both comes out in favor of fatherless kids and informs readers that, really, British courts would never, never discriminate against a father. His first thesis, as I described yesterday, is that divorce is good for everyone, Mom, Dad and the kids. As I said, his reasoning is straight out of the 1960s when we were told that getting out of a bad marriage would make the adults happier and, with happier adults would come happier children.
February 16, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
John Bolch is at it again. Actually, on first reading, I was sure this piece was written in 1968 (Marilyn Stowe Blog, 2/13/17). But no, a glance at the date indicated it was posted just this past Sunday. So I can’t figure out why he’s recycling arguments in favor of no-fault divorce that could have been lifted directly from the late 60s or early 70s. Has the man learned nothing in the ensuing decades? Oh, silly me, I forgot, it’s Bolch. Of course he’s learned nothing. That’s sort of his specialty. As usual, he’s tossed off a piece that’s long on vague assertions backed up by no empirical facts and contradicted by much that’s both obvious and well-known (at least by others). Bolch wants certain things to be true and therefore, according to him, they are.
His reason for once again fouling the page at the Marilyn Stowe Blog is a pair of articles on fathers and fatherlessness in The Observer last Sunday.
February 13, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Apart from the many important realities Brad Wilcox’s numbers conceal about men, marriage and why many don’t want to tie the knot, it is his misandry that screams out loudest from his first words through his last. More subtly, it’s misogynistic as well. Wilcox’s National Review piece is entitled “Hey Guys, Put a Ring on It,” and proceeds to extol the many benefits of marriage to men (National Review, 2/6/17).
Meanwhile, where are the women in all this? Nowhere to be found. Now, as a writer, I fully understand that he’s writing about men and to men, not women; his chosen topic intentionally omits them. I have no quibble with that. After all, every article is about what it’s about and not something else.
February 12, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
He’s back. And singing the same tune as before, but… Do I read a somewhat chastened Brad Wilcox in his latest piece here (National Review, 2/9/17)? I think I do.
I try to like Wilcox because he has some sensible words to say about marriage and its benefits to men. The data he cites are accurate to the best of my knowledge and his message is sound as far as it goes. But in the recent past, I’ve had occasion to excoriate him for denigrating men while resolutely ignoring not only what they say and why they say it, but altogether pertinent facts as well.
February 10, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The huge majority of parents know better. But alas, in this stranger-than-ever world of ours, many do not. Elite opinion-making long ago plunged to some pretty low depths of absurdity, but one of the lowest involves the notion that an individual’s sex is, in some undefined way, not a product of biology, but of socialization.
Radical feminism has peddled that nonsense for a long time even though it’s never made sense. Put simply, they have the matter exactly backwards. Yes, there are plenty of social messages about what is masculine and what is feminine. But the social justice warriors looked at those messages and decided that, without them, sex would be, er, fluid. Or something.
February 9, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
I’ve often complained about alimony laws, but few cases outdo this one in its power to make the case I’ve been making (Standard, 2/6/17). Put simply, if the case of Graham and Maria Mills is possible under British law, then Dickens’s Mr. Bumble was right, “the law is a ass.” Actually, it’s worse than any I’ve come across. A British court of appeals frankly treats Maria like a child and Graham like an ATM machine.
February 8, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Not long ago, I did a couple of pieces on the outrageous new rule adopted by senior family court judges in the U.K. to guide the deliberations of all family judges there. The new rule will require judges to deny contact between fathers and their children where there is an allegation (and perhaps some proof) of domestic violence. Such, at any rate, is the way the new rule was reported. As I said in my first piece on it, surely the rule will be written in gender-neutral language, but whether it is or isn’t, the gist of it is clear – it’s aimed at fathers, not mothers.
Further, what quantum of proof will be required to remove a father from his child’s life remains unclear. Is an allegation sufficient? Is a bruise anywhere on the mother’s or child’s body enough? Who knows?
February 6, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
So, as I reported yesterday, Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan’s attack on fathers overlooks many pertinent facts in order to reach her conclusion that fathers need to do more parenting than they are. Nowhere does she consider the possibility that mothers do the bulk of the parenting because they want it that way. That of course is precisely what Dr. Catherine Hakim found in her analysis of data on how men and women in countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development use their time. Women do less paid work because they choose to do less paid work and the overwhelming reason is that they prefer to tend their children.
Anyone with even the vaguest ideas about men and women would realize that that’s what women have done for untold millennia. Those who are a bit better informed would realize that those untold millennia of human evolution have produced a female brain that is wired for childcare. Those with still better information would know that pregnancy and post-natal childcare produce hormones like oxytocin, prolactin, estradiol and cortisol that essentially mandate childcare in mothers. It’s how we got here as a species, after all.
February 5, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
This online publication “The Conversation” self-describes as “academic rigor, journalistic flair.” But if this article is an example of “academic rigor,” then “academic rigor” isn’t what it used to be (The Conversation, 2/2/17). In fact, the article, while providing the occasional worthwhile tidbit of information generally traffics in untruths, half-truths, unasked questions and misused statistics. Given what I understand to be the norm in academia these days, I’d say “academic rigor” is about right.
Author Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan’s theme is a familiar one – despite aspirations to parenting equality, fathers just don’t do enough, and what they do, they do poorly or half-way. To her, mothers are the gold-standard of parenting. And that of course undermines her thesis that fathers need to do more. After all, if dads are, generally speaking, less good parents than mothers, why would mothers give up the parenting role and why would fathers want them to?
February 3, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
My last two posts have been about an Irish study that is so flawed as to be useless. Also, it’s insufferably anodyne. Reading it, you’d think that, while Irish child custody law needs a bit of reform, on the whole, it’s pretty fair to mothers, fathers and children.
I referred readers to Roisin O’Shea’s far more trenchant description of Irish family courts that was based on her research into 14 different judicial circuits over a four-year period. To read her study’s results side-by-side with One Family’s effort would convince most people they were reading about two entirely separate court systems.
February 2, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Yesterday, we established that the self-described “Ireland’s First Shared Parenting Survey” is anything but. More accurately it would be entitled “What Irish Custodial Mothers Say About Their Parental Situation.” That’s because the survey “defines” “shared parenting” so broadly as to include literally any amount of parenting time for each parent. The survey may well include as “shared parenting” arrangement one in which Dad sees little Andy or Jenny one day out of the year. Or less.
Not only is parenting time not part of the “definition,” One Family made no mention of the fact that 58.1% of custodial parents said the non-custodial parent sees the child “monthly” or less often. Neither did the survey write-up make note of the fact that words like “weekly” and “monthly” mean virtually nothing in the context of parenting time. Dad seeing the children for seven days straight, once per month is a far cry from him seeing them one day, or one hour once per month. But not for One Family; to that organization, it’s all the same.
February 1, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Not long ago, I posted a couple of pieces on the family court system in Ireland and the shockingly biased ways they have of adjudicating child custody and parenting time. Now come the results of a recent survey of Irish parents regarding “shared parenting.” It’s called, not too imaginatively, “Ireland’s First Shared Parenting Survey,” and it’s in many ways remarkable, not all of them good.
Of course, in the U.S. and elsewhere, we know a lot about shared parenting. It’s been studied in considerable detail and some pretty solid conclusions have been drawn about it. So it’s strange that this Irish survey is (a) the first of its kind ever and (b) makes no mention of the massive body of knowledge about shared parenting. It’s as if the organization that conducted the survey, One Family, believes it’s inventing the wheel, that it’s conducting its research in a vacuum. Strange, to say the least.
January 30, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
No sooner had I written a couple of pieces about the extreme and bizarre steps being taken in the U.K. to further marginalize fathers in the lives of their kids than there comes this that’s the exact opposite. It’s an advertisement for Mattel, maker of Barbie dolls. Mattel took its valuable time and hard-earned money to promote sales of Barbies by showing little girls with their dads. Of course the little girls are all adorable, but the fathers are too in their own ways. All in all, it’s a delightful depiction of what is in fact far closer to the reality of father-child relationships than that drawn by the U.K. organization, Women’s Aid, and the judges there who listen to them.
January 29, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
There’s another kerfuffle at the New York Times about an article it ran on fathers (New York Times, 1/22/17). It’s a strange piece that starts nowhere, goes nowhere and ends nowhere. It says so little that it’s hard to imagine it occasioned the groveling mea culpas from the writer and various Times editors that were immediately forthcoming.
The piece by Filip Bondy is about a fairly affluent suburb of Montclair, New Jersey and what happened to it last Saturday when many of the women there went off to the Women’s March in Washington. So, what did happen? Not a thing. Life went on just as usual, and why wouldn’t it? After all, the ladies hadn’t been carried off by the plague, just by a few trains and cars headed to the nation’s capital. Dads took care of the children and a myriad of other duties and, well, that was that.
January 27, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The National Parents Organization’s new Florida chapter got the New Year off with a bang. NPO-backed alimony reform legislation was filed in the House of Representatives and will be filed soon in the Senate. House Bill 283 makes sensible and needed changes to existing alimony law in the Sunshine State that currently allows, among other things, alimony obligations to be permanent. There, it’s possible for an alimony payer’s last act on earth to be signing a check to an ex-spouse who, perhaps for decades, couldn’t be bothered to give him the time of day. On a basic human level, that’s an outrage that screams for reform.
January 26, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
An observant reader has passed on to me a paper from 2011 that is by turns amusing and infuriating. It’s by Robert B. Mellor of the Faculty of Computing, Information Systems and Mathematics of Kingston University in London. Being a paper on statistics, the average reader might be inclined to flee fearing death by boredom, but it’s only four pages long and lets us know some very interesting facts about the use and misuse of social science by our friends at CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service). They’re the ones who tell British courts, among other things, what sort of custody arrangement is in a child’s best interests.