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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.  

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September 26, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

From this article, it’s easy to see that James Millar is a sincere on the issues of paternal involvement in childcare (Huffington Post, 9/14/18).  But there’s so, so much he just doesn’t grasp.

Millar understands that pop culture militates against respect for fathers.

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September 24, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

For the first time in the history of the State of Maine, prosecutors and their enablers are being forced to pay money to one of their victims.  In this case, that victim is Vladek Filler although, the way Filler turned the tables on his tormenters, it’s hard to know who’s the victim.

I’ve written about Filler many times before.  During his divorce and child custody suit, his wife Ligia leveled charges of rape against him.  Her claims were false and plainly intended to wrest custody from him and marginalize Vladek in his children’s lives.  The police were happy to assist Ligia in her lies, withholding exculpatory evidence, among other things.  That brought to center stage ADA Mary Kellett who seems to have never heard a claim of sexual assault she didn’t believe.  She took the case to trial and won a conviction until it was overturned due to her outrageous and unethical behavior.  Undeterred, she brought a misdemeanor charge of assault against Filler for allegedly splashing water on his wife.  Yes, she really did that.

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September 23, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This is the final post on the Arizona Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in Alma S. vs. Department of Child Services.

Justice Bollick agreed with the majority holding that the evidence at trial was sufficient under the applicable law to warrant terminating Alma’s rights.  In his written opinion however, he slams both the state’s highest court and Arizona law as in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

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September 21, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This continues the case of Alma S. vs. Department of Child Services of Arizona, this time at the state Supreme Court level. The Supreme Court reversed the appellate court, greenlighting the termination of Alma’s parental rights and the placement of her children for adoption.

In a nutshell, the Court of Appeals held that the evidence was insufficient in the court below for a finding of parental unfitness. It detailed that evidence that seemed somewhere in the range of thin-to-non-existent. The Supreme Court disagreed, saying there was sufficient evidence to uphold the trial court’s ruling.

Now, in attacking the appellate court, the justices of the Supreme Court stooped to framing the issues in some pretty dicey ways.

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September 20, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This continues the case of Alma S. whose parental rights to her two children were terminated by the ruling of the Arizona Supreme Court. The trial court ruled in favor of termination, but was reversed by the Court of Appeals that was in turn reversed by the state’s highest court. Therefore, as things stand now, the children will remain separated and be adopted. Without intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, Alma S. is out of luck.

The opinion by the Court of Appeals reveals a shocking abuse of power by the Department of Child Safety. From the appellate court’s description of the Department’s behavior, it appears plain that railroading the children into foster care and then into adoption was the plan all along. Put simply, the evidentiary basis relied on by the DCS and the trial court was woefully inadequate to support termination of Alma’s rights. Worse, DCS handpicked experts to opine in favor of termination and then restricted the information those experts received for the purpose of enhancing the prospects of terminating Alma’s parental rights.

At some point, Alma was living with a man who’d fathered one of her children. The other father was in prison. She went to work one day and left the kids with him. When she returned, it appeared one of the children had been on the receiving end of physical abuse. The next day, Alma asked her sister to take the kids to the doctor to ascertain whether abuse had occurred. She did so, the doctor reported the matter to DCS and the children were taken into care.

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September 19, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

I can’t be sure from this article, but it looks like the Arizona Supreme Court may have made a big mistake (AZ Central, 9/17/18).  The article is well done, but I need to read the SC decision and that of the Court of Appeals before I can be sure what happened.

Suffice it to say that, if writer Mary Jo Pitzl is correct, this case should be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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September 17, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

With divorce rates on the rise in India, it’s time our lawmakers gave serious thought to amending the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act to alleviate the trauma that children of estranged parents undergo during the divorce proceedings and the custodial battle.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. The linked-to article goes to bat for a presumption of shared parenting in India (Hindustan Times, 9/12/18).

At present, courts are empowered to grant a child’s custody to either parent depending on the child’s overall interests and well-being. 

So it appears that Indian courts don’t have the authority to order shared parenting, even if they want to. That said though, they’ve done so in the past.

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September 16, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

It’s not just the camel’s nose that’s inside the tent; now the whole smelly beast is living with us.  It’s eating our food and drinking our wine.  How long before it asks us to leave our own tent?  How long after that will it be before it simply shoves us out?

I refer of course to child protective authorities.  What began as a laudable effort to protect children from abusive parents has become a multi-billion dollar industry that grows larger every year.  To do that, it’s had to identify an ever-increasing number of parental behaviors that qualify as abuse.  Or neglect.  Or the risk of abuse.  Or the risk of neglect.  Or emotional harm.  Or the risk of emotional harm (The Guardian, 9/14/18).

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September 14, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Amazingly, Forbes has allowed itself to become the vehicle for some truly misleading claims by British writer Lauren Coulman (Forbes, 9/12/18). Her subject is the earnings gap between men and women. Unable to produce figures or facts indicating the gap’s being the result of anti-female discrimination, Coulman resorts to verbal legerdemain.

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September 13, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The campaign against recognizing parental alienation continues in this article (BBC, 9/12/18). The writer, “education editor” Branwen Jeffreys should consider educating herself before writing such a piece. The nut of the matter according to Jeffreys is that the very existence of PA is “controversial” and so any claim that it’s occurring should be looked at askance.

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September 12, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Recently I wrote a piece, once again pointing out the profound ignorance of British former family lawyer, John Bolch. His blog post was about child support and, as is always the case with Bolch, contained many smug assertions that don’t bear even casual scrutiny. But I find I was too kind.

Bolch tossed off the usual boilerplate about child support. In answer to the hypothetical question of why a non-resident parent should have to pay child support, Bolch responded with this, assuming the truth to be self-evident:

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NPO's Ohio Parenting Time Report is getting a lot of media attention in Ohio, with journalists in different counties asking how their county fared and how things can change. Research shows that children do better when they have plenty of time with both parents, and this report is leading those in Ohio to ask, "how can we do better?" 

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September 10, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Even Ph.Ds. in psychology don’t get it (Fox News, 9/9/18). Honestly, you’d think Dr. Kevin Leman would, but alas, he doesn’t. If you’re going to advise clients going through divorce (which he does), it would seem to be Job One to, you know, read the literature on the subject.

Leman offers some perfectly sound advice to parents about how to deal with their kids during divorce.

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September 9, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Here’s yet another story that argues persuasively for requiring women to name the father of a child one gives birth to (NewsHub, 4/9/18).

An Australian man the article calls Kerry and a woman, Julie, had a one-night stand 20 years ago. She had a child and named Kerry the father. He assumed she was telling the truth. She wasn’t. For the next 18 years, he paid child support for the child. For some reason,

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This poll taken by Public Policy Polling after the passage of the first in the nation shared parenting law in Kentucky shows that voters overwhelmingly support shared parenting after divorce or separation. The poll results are getting a lot of media attention, which is great news for the shared parenting movement! This article through the Public News Service includes an interview with NPO of Kentucky Chair Matt Hale. We will keep our readers updated on these great results for shared parenting around the nation. 

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September 5, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Do I see the next exhibit on offer by those who seek to convince anyone who’ll listen that parental alienation is junk science and a plot by fathers to wrest custody from “protective mothers?” I just may. Richard Ducote and the various journalists who’ve put forward that nonsense may want to take note. Karin Wolf may be just the person for them.

Wolf’s latest shenanigans have involved abducting her 14-year-old child from its father, Edward Crane (North Jersey, 9/3/18). She was apprehended after a nine-day investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies. She’s been charged with interference with child custody and contempt of court in Glen Rock, New Jersey.    

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September 3, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Today’s the day we celebrate the contributions of the men and women who work every day to make everyone’s life easier, better, fuller and safer. We probably should do it more often.

A few weeks ago I watched a short Jordan Peterson video in which he pointed out to his interlocutor how fantastically complicated our economic system is. For us consumers to get, say, a fresh head of lettuce in a super market involves so many different moving parts of the economy as to boggle the mind. The fields have to produce, the produce needs to be harvested at the right time, it must be inspected, cleaned and packaged, put on a truck that functions and whose refrigeration system does as well. The driver has to drive the truck to market, there must be fuel for the truck at a place where it’s needed, the produce needs to be unloaded and displayed in a refrigerated area of the store. And of course every single aspect of the system I just mentioned has its own massively complex support system. For example the crude oil that’s the basis of the diesel fuel has to be extracted, refined, etc. Electrical systems have to be maintained and function properly. Etc., etc.

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September 2, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Continuing from Friday with the latest Bolch fiasco.

Bolch pretends that, since money is fungible, there’s no way we can ascertain what a custodial parent is spending her child support money on. Of course if we were to take seriously the problem many fathers have with feeling their money doesn’t go to the child but to the mother who wants nothing to do with them except the bi-weekly check, we could establish as system much like our food stamp one. That is, we could denominate certain child-specific items (e.g. diapers) that could be bought with a child support debit card and other items (e.g. alcohol) that couldn’t be.

That would solve the problem at least for the most part. But Bolch is convinced the only way we can conclude that child support isn’t going to the child is if this happens:

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August 31, 2018 by Robert Frabklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

No sooner do I deal with the ignorance of Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell on the subject of child support than our old friend and punching bag John Bolch chimes in on the same subject (Marilyn Stowe Blog, 8/28/18). Unsurprisingly, the results are much the same. In his invariable zeal to support the status quo and oppose fathers legitimate interests, Bolch gets much wrong about his chosen topic. That said though, I must admit that his piece is better than Mitchell’s. He actually gets a fact or two correct and raises a coherent argument. I’ve never before said that Bolch’s work is superior to anyone’s, but in this case the fact is the fact. Yes, it’s setting the bar at ground level, but there it is.

It seems Bolch has heard various non-custodial fathers complaining that they have to pay to support their kids.

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National Parents Organization has completed a study—the first of its kind—of the parenting time guidelines of each of Ohio’s 88 county courts of domestic relations. These guidelines are intended to guide divorcing parents in setting a parenting time schedule for their children and, often, are explicitly presented as default schedules, “for parents who cannot agree otherwise.” Because these guideline schedules have a significant effect on the schedules parents agree on and those imposed when parents do not agree, they are important factors in shaping the actual parenting of children of divorced parents.

A large and compelling body of recent scientific research shows that children of separated parents benefit from substantially equal parenting time with each parent. (See “NPO Shared Parenting Research Resources” for citations and links.) This means that the defaults that courts set in place are important in promoting the best interest of children. And, importantly, the research established that this is true even for infants and toddlers and even when parents are in (non-violent) high-conflict relationships.

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Ashland, Kentucky newspaper The Daily Independent published this staff editorial calling Kentucky's first in the nation shared parenting law "long overdue." We agree and thank the staff at The Daily Independent for joining the shared parenting movement and recognizing what is best for children. Read the entire editorial here.

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August 29, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This article
 begins with this sentence (Chicago Sun-Times, 8/27/18):

It boggles my mind that last year in Illinois, parents owed almost $900 million in child support.

Here’s what boggles my mind: experienced writers who choose to write about subjects about which they know little.  Such a writer is Mary Mitchell, author of the linked-to piece.  Not only does she know almost nothing about child support, she’s not interested in learning.  If she were, she’d probably have done certain obvious things to educate herself. 

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There is an article in The Daily Independent on Kentucky's first in the nation shared parenting law. A recent poll by Public Policy Polling shows that Kentuckians favor the new law, with 84% of respondents agreeing that a child would benefit from equal time with both parents. The author spoke with Matt Hale, Chairman of the Kentucky chapter of National Parents Organization, and Senator Robin Webb of Kentucky on how this bill has been one of the most popular passed this year.

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August 27, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Another day, another boatload of tax money spent for no good reason (Reason, 8/22/18).  It’s the inimitable Lenore Skenazy again with another tale of bureaucratic overreaching, this time on the part of a Wilmette, IL child protective agency.

What were they investigating this time?  An eight-year-old girl walking the family dog.  In her own neighborhood.  Within sight of her mother.  That most normal of situations was anonymously reported to the police who paid a surprise visit to the girl’s mother, Corey Widen.  They left without further ado, but soon the Department of Children and Family Services showed up.  And they didn’t leave the matter at just a quick interview of Widen.  No, they interviewed Widen’s other children, various relatives and the girl’s pediatrician.

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