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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

August 13, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

The lengths to which people go to gain an unfair advantage in child custody cases long ago ceased to amaze me. Murder, abduction, perjury, parental alienation, payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars to mental health professionals hired for the sole purpose of training the parent to be evaluated by another MHP, hiring hit men, you name it, someone’s done it just to make sure the other parent doesn’t get to see the child.

So, in the scheme of things, this case doesn’t seem that extreme (Reason, 8/11/14). Still, here it is.

It seems a Florida lawyer, since disbarred, Scott Rothstein, decided to help out a friend in his child custody matter. So he convinced Broward County Sheriff Lt. David Benjamin to approve the arrest of the man’s ex-wife on drug charges. Deputy Jeff Poole was assigned the task and carried it out. The only problem was that the woman didn’t have any drugs. It was all a sham concocted by the two “law enforcement officers, Rothstein and presumably the woman’s ex-husband. At this point I think I’m beginning to get an idea of why Rothstein got himself disbarred.

However it went down, the conspiracy was exposed and Benjamin and Poole have been sentenced to five years and one year in prison for violating the woman’s civil rights. What happened in family court remains a mystery.

All’s well that ends well, I suppose, but events of such astonishing stupidity and chutzpah do bring up the point that, when it comes to battles over child custody, people can do truly crazy things. And I have to say that, this sort of thing would be kept to a minimum if courts were to presume equal parenting absent a showing of unfitness on the part of one or both parents.

The simple fact is that people behave this way because they know to a virtual certainty that one of them will get primary or sole custody of the kids and the other will be shoved to the sidelines. Both parents want to be the former and neither the latter, which all too often prompts them to behave in the most vicious ways. I suspect that’s partly because neither wants to lose contact with children whom they dearly love and neither wants to endure the powerful blow to the ego being cast as ‘visitor’ entails.

Equal parenting solves a lot of problems and most of them are more important than idiocy like the kind Rothstein, et al cooked up in Broward County. But the social science on shared parenting demonstrates it has a tendency to ameliorate conflict between parents and I suspect this case is one that never would have occurred had both parents been confident they wouldn’t lose their child to a one-sided custody order.

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National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.

#falseallegations, #drugcharges, #custodybattle, #BrowardCounty, #civilrightsviolations

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