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.  

September 14, 2016
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.

Brennan’s point is that, when it comes to shared parenting, politically diverse groups can and should agree. The well-being of children is not - or at any rate should not be - a matter for partisan politics. Schlafly and DeCrow’s agreement on the issue makes the point all too clearly.

So did the Maryland survey find people from all parts of the political spectrum agreeing on the need for shared parenting?

Yes. Presumably because with shared parenting, everyone wins. Kids win because they retain real relationships with both parents. Dads win because they don’t lose contact with their children and remain vital influences in their lives. Moms win because they’re freed to be financially independent and advance more in their careers. Plus, they’re relieved of much of the stress and worry that comes from being the sole parent 80% - 100% of the time. The public purse wins too. Improved outcomes for kids that come from shared parenting make for better educational outcomes, lower crime levels, lower incidence of drug and alcohol abuse, fewer mental disorders, etc. All those require tax money to address, so shared parenting is good for the public balance sheet as well.

No wonder shared parenting has such broad acceptance among voters. When an issue can join such opponents as Schlafly from the right with DeCrow from the left, we know it has the broadest possible appeal.

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