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.  

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
man carrying her daughter smiling 1157395 1

December 13, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Sigh.  What to make of this New York Times op-ed (New York Times, 12/9/19)?  Is it really as confusing and wrong-headed as it seems?  You decide.

First, the headline (and sub-headline) not only don’t accurately describe the article and they don’t get close to describing the underlying study on which the article is based.  Here they are:

The Myth of the Two-Parent Home

New research indicates that access to resources, more than family structure, matters for black kids’ success.

But of course the article says nothing about the two-parent home being a “myth.”  On the contrary, author Dr. Christina Cross is at pains to say this:

Let me be clear: I’m not suggesting that the two-parent family is bad for children of any race or ethnicity. Indeed, scholars have noted its wide array of benefits for children, parents and communities, especially those from middle-class backgrounds.

So, far from being a “myth,” Cross acknowledges the “wide array of benefits” for everyone that arises from two-parent households.

As to what “matters for black kids’ success,” Cross didn’t analyze that.  “Success,” after all is an astonishingly broad term and not something we’d expect to be examined by a single study.  No, what Cross looked at was first, kids’ likelihood of graduating from high school on time and, second, their likelihood of enrolling in college.  Those two specific considerations were all she studied.

In short, the article’s headline has little to do with the article.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
man and boy sitting on floor near body of water 1161442 1

December 12, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Children do well when both parents participate actively in their upbringing and work to provide consistent attention, affection, and discipline, as well as meeting their material needs. This is easiest to achieve when the parents are married and living together. 

That’s psychologist Nicholas Zill writing here (IFS, 12/4/19).  In my last piece, I summarized some of his findings.

So Zill clearly understands the fact that children do better with both parents in their lives than in any other situation.  But here too is Zill:

While married fathers of today are playing a more active role in their children’s lives than married fathers of yesteryear, many fathers who don’t live with their kids are doing little either to support their children or even interact with them. The trend data reviewed in this essay suggest that the situation is not improving.

That’s to be found under Zill’s heading “No Substitute for Responsible Fathers.”  As such, Zill suggests that the problem of fatherless or “under-fathered” kids stems from the failure on the part of the men to take up their responsibilities as dads.  It’s a common claim, particularly among those on the right of the political spectrum.  The theory seems to be that if men were somehow to become better people, the problem of fatherless kids would vanish.  The claim is terribly misguided.  Worse, it’s an excuse for failing to do the hard work of not only reforming laws, but changing the cultural narrative on fathers.  After all, if the problem is the fathers themselves, what can you or I do?

But for decades now we’ve known that the irresponsible dad trope is mostly nonsense.  Of course there are men who flee their parental responsibilities, as do some women.  But there’s plenty of social science that finds them to be in the minority.  Even the poorest and least educated men want to play a real role in their children’s lives, as the many, many studies conducted using the data produced by the Fragile Families and Child Well-being longitudinal survey demonstrate.  Two decades ago, Sanford Braver gave the lie to the claim that men don’t care about their kids.

Unfortunately for all of us though, this culture tells fathers, at every turn in the road of a child’s life, that they are unwanted and unneeded, that they’re at best superfluous and at worst a danger to children and mothers alike. 

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
david straight sAabA4Z8OfU unsplash

December 11, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Nicholas Zill has had a long and illustrious career as a research psychologist.  Anyone who’s studied issues related to families, fathers and children over the last 30 years or so has run into his work.  He’s now a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies.  Here’s his most recent article (IFS, 12/4/19).

There’s nothing earth-shaking in the piece.  He’s simply reporting on child support figures and raising issues about what they mean for kids.  He rightly points out for example that the child support enforcement system works just fine for parents who’d be paying anyway, but does a lousy job if the parents are poor.  We know this because the Office of Child Support Enforcement has been letting us know for well over a decade.

More importantly,

[M]y examination of child support data from the Census Bureau reveals that the new fatherhood (i.e. fathers spending more parenting time) is not benefiting the children who need it most. (parenthetical mine)

That is, whereas married and more affluent fathers are spending greater amounts of time with their kids than did fathers of past generations, poorer and less well-educated fathers aren’t.  Now, I’m not sure that, as Zill suggests, kids of poor parents need their fathers more than do those from more privileged backgrounds, but Zill has a point: there’s a divide in American society between those with actively engaged fathers and those without.  Those without tend to be poorer, not incidentally because they don’t have fathers in the home.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
humphrey muleba jrOPyEXA8DE unsplash

December 10, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Once again, a court has ignored the plain meaning of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  Once again, a child is left in the custody of an alienating mother.  Once again, a fit father is removed from his child’s life.  Once again, the very courts that are supposed to discourage international child kidnapping in fact endorse it.

This time the mother’s destination was New Zealand and the child’s country of habitual residence was somewhere in Europe (the article doesn’t say which country).  But, as in so many other cases, the result is the same – Mom managed to elude authorities long enough so the courts ruled that the child’s “best interests” can only be served by leaving her in the custody of an abuser and effectively removing the father from her life.

Such is the way of the Hague Convention that was written to prevent exactly that from happening.

This highly informative article tells the tale (New Zealand Herald, 12/2/19).

Five years ago, the mother abducted the child from Europe to New Zealand.  The girl’s father tried for three years to locate her and, only through dumb luck, eventually succeeded.  He immediately filed a suit under the Hague Convention for return of the girl to him and her home country. 

At that point, the Hague Convention intends that the court in the country to which the child is abducted ask the question, “What is the child’s country of habitual residence?”  In other words, was the child taken from her home by an abductor or to her home from an abductor?  Clearly, the European country in which she’d been born and lived all her life was her country of habitual residence.  Therefore, according to the Convention, the girl should be returned home and any legal proceedings occur there.

But the family court in New Zealand wrongly refused to issue an order requiring the girl’s return to her father in Europe.  I know that to be wrong because (a) the Convention is very clear on what a court is to do and (b) the New Zealand Court of Appeal said so.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
affection beach care caucasian 433502 1

December 9, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Not long ago, KARE 11 in Minneapolis aired this panel discussion on shared parenting (KARE 11, 11/28/19).  It featured four pro-shared parenting advocates and four opposed.  Among the “pros” was NPO’s good friend and tireless fighter for equal parenting, Molly Olson.  The discussion was noteworthy mostly for being not noteworthy.  That is, the anti-shared parenting folks had no new arguments to make and the ones they did make were without merit.

For starters, they weren’t as truthful as we might have liked.  For starters, they tried convincing listeners that Minnesota law now requires “maximization” of parenting time for each parent based on several factors.  But as Olson pointed out, it does no such thing.  Much like current law in Australia, it only requires judges to “consider” maximizing parenting time.  Unsurprisingly, that does the cause of equality little good.

They also claimed that the bill currently before the legislature would remove the child’s age from the factors for consideration by the judge, but again, it does no such thing.  As Olson again said, under the bill, a judge would be able to take the child’s age into consideration, but it couldn’t be the only factor in his/her decision on custody or parenting time.

In short, it seeks to remove from judges’ tool box a de facto Tender Years Doctrine under which young children are automatically ordered to the sole custody of their mother.  And, speaking of that doctrine, it seems to be very much favored by the anti-shared parenting group.  At one point, their discussion seemed to take for granted that a child under the age of three should be with its mother.  Needless to say, the social science rebutting that didn’t enter into their remarks.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
chris benson mB7PrY1psGc unsplash

The Supreme Court of Mexico has struck down as unconstitutional a provision in the capital’s law that has automatically given to mothers child custody of children under the age of 12 (KVOA, 11/21/19).  That is, up to now, every child under the age of 12 in the country’s federal district, risked losing its precious relationship with its father when the adults split up.  That was the district’s version of the Tender Years Doctrine that’s been abandoned by most countries in the Western world, Israel being one notable exception.

Mexico City, that makes up most of the federal district, has a population of almost 22 million people, so the change affects a large proportion of the country.

The Supreme Court found Thursday that the rule governing custody of kids under 12 years old is unconstitutional for making a distinction on gender.

The ruling is based on the principle of equality and the higher interest of minors. It says the unconstitutional language violates the latter by taking away judges’ discretion to consider the individual circumstances of each case to determine which parent is best equipped to care for a child’s needs.

Therefore, children’s best interests were deemed by the court to have been compromised by the previous law because, after all, in many instances, Mom’s not the better parent.  But up to now, judges had no discretion to give custody to Dad. 

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
Fraley and Rep Lowery

December 4, 2019 by Patrick Fraley

The Law of Inertia states that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, whereas an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Few things have more inertia than family courts, standing still for decades despite major changes in the world around them. Like most states, Arkansas has been working toward laws and practices that support joint custody, equal parental rights, and best outcomes for children. Since the 1970’s, laws have been passed to correct outdated theories and practices to bring family courts in line with public opinion and “best interest of the child.” Why is it taking so long? With each push the legislature has made to bring family law into the modern era, there has been an opposing reaction by the family law industry to keep the status quo.

Arkansas, like other states, used to include maternal preference in its custody laws. This was based on misguided theories like the Tender Years doctrine, alleging that young children needed to be raised by their mothers. As society changed, anti-discrimination ideas advanced, and Tender Years was dismissed, maternal preference was replaced with gender-neutral laws and the “best interest of the child” principle. In Arkansas, this occurred in 1979 with the passage of Act 278, stating the award of custody “be made without regard to the sex of the parent” but solely in the “best interest of the children.” However, the family law industry looked the other way and failed to change its practices. Custody continued to be almost universally given to mothers while fathers were turned into visitors paying child support. Joint custody  - what we now know to be the best outcome for children - was almost nonexistent.

It wasn’t until over 20 years later that the Arkansas legislature stepped in to direct the courts toward joint custody. Act 92 of 2003 stated “In making an order for custody, the court may consider awarding joint custody of a child to the parents.” The goal was to have judges start treating joint custody as a viable option. How did they respond? The courts negated the new law with their own appellate case law. In 2006, Bailey v Bailey reversed a lower court order for joint custody on the grounds that joint custody was “disfavored” in the state, giving primary custody to the parent who didn’t want joint custody. Once again, the lawyers and judges held their ground despite the new law allowing joint custody and the mounting evidence behind it.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

December 4, 2019 By Don Hubin, PhD, Chair, Board of Directors

We goofed!

Last September, NPO released the 2019 NPO Shared Parenting Report Card. This was the first update to the research that NPO pioneered in 2014 to review the child custody statutes of all 50 states and the District of Columbia and evaluate them on the degree to which they promote shared parenting.

Unfortunately, we missed a key provision of Arkansas law. In both the 2014 Report and the 2019 Report (as released in September). Arkansas statutes state that “[i]n an action for divorce, an award of joint custody is favored in Arkansas” (ARK. CODE ANN. § 9-13-101(a)(1)(A)(iii)). And, furthermore, Arkansas statutes define ‘joint custody’ strongly: “the approximate and reasonable equal division of time with the child by both parents individually as agreed to by the parents or as ordered by the court” (ARK. CODE ANN. § 9-13-101(a)(1)(A)(iii)(B)(5)).

These are important provisions of Arkansas law that should serve to promote shared parenting and, reflecting these changes, NPO has changed the grade for Arkansas’s shared parenting statutes from a ‘D-’ to a ‘C+’.

That’s a significant improvement, to be sure. But there’s plenty of room for the lawmakers in Arkansas to take further steps to promote shared parenting. The language of “favoring” shared parenting amounts only to a policy statement. It does not create a rebuttable presumption of substantially equal shared parenting. And, because of its vagueness, courts are not interpreting the statutory language as creating even a legal preference for shared parenting.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
Ginger Gentile Film DirectorNational Parents Organization welcomes Ginger Gentile our new Executive Director. This might sound like old news; as many of you know, Ginger has been part of the NPO team since last June. However, because of her other commitments, especially the rollout of her powerful and poignant documentary film, Erasing Family, Ginger was able to devote only part of her time to NPO and she served as our Deputy Executive Director. On December 1, Ginger became NPO’s Executive Director, devoting her full-time efforts to helping make equal shared parenting the norm when parents live apart. 

Ginger brings a broad range of talents, skills, and knowledge as well as a deep understanding of the problems that NPO is addressing. Her personal experience and her work as a film director and documentary maker, not only of Erasing Family but also of the earlier film Erasing Dad (Borrando a Papá), have given Ginger a deep and personal understanding of the trauma many children face when one of their parents is erased from their lives--trauma that often follows them far into adulthood.

In her brief time working with NPO so far, Ginger has helped establish new NPO affiliate chapters in Florida, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Alabama, Colorado and Texas. She created a series of webcasts to educate both advocates and the general public and she oversaw the rollout of the 2019 NPO Shared Parenting Report Card, including organizing a press conference at Rockefeller Center announcing it which was covered by US News & World Report, Fox News, and Yahoo!

Welcome aboard as our Executive Director, Ginger. We look forward to working with you to change laws, practices, and, perhaps most importantly, attitudes and expectations so that children won’t be deprived of a loving parent just because the parents are living apart.

Don Hubin

Chair, National Board, NPO

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
baby cap child 754172

December 2, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

The problem of domestic violence allegations has bedeviled family courts for decades.  Family lawyers have long said that those allegations are often made to gain an advantage in child custody matters.  Judges have to figure out if the claims have merit and, if so, what to do about them.  Often they’re trained to err on the side of believing the complainant, i.e. to issue restraining orders in the absence of much real evidence for the claim.  That of course means the targeted parent, usually the father, can be removed from his place of residence and denied contact with his children, among other restrictions.

I’ve written about this a good bit lately regarding Australian family courts.  There, accused parents may wait for many months before they even get a hearing on a DV claim, all the while being subjected to a restraining order that was granted in a matter of days or even hours.

What’s given rise to my posts about the situation in Australia is the welter of articles defending the status quo.  Those pieces typically assume that only men commit DV and only women are its victims while going on to claim that women never lie about in their complaints.

U.S. courts aren’t quite as extreme as Australian ones, but the fact remains that claims of DV continue to be used as a tactic for gaining custody of children.

So it’s useful to know the facts about DV, facts that many who oppose shared parenting are happy to keep under wraps.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

As we approach the season of giving, I hope everyone who reads the NPO blog will give what they can to help us in our mission to reform family courts.  That mission is, in my mind, the most important of all social causes.  Ensuring that family courts and laws stop separating children from parents is vital to kids’ well-being both now and long into the future.  Keeping both parents actively involved in children’s lives helps children, parents and society generally by reducing the many psychological deficits that trouble children without a mother or a father.

The National Parents Organization is by far the leader in this vital movement for reform.  We have the national scope and strategy to address the need for change from across the country.  In the past year, we’ve accomplished great things, including the anniversary of the first-ever presumption of shared parenting law in Kentucky.  We now boast 23 active state affiliates and our Shared Parenting Report Card brought national attention to the shocking disparity among states in their approaches to shared parenting.  Every day, on the NPO website, social media and in newspapers, we spread the word about shared parenting and answer those who would continue the dysfunctional status quo.

The future looks bright for NPO.  Our new Executive Director, Ginger Gentile, is enthusiastic, energetic and knowledgeable.   Our Board of Directors is more active than ever.  Our affiliates are staffed with the best, most dedicated volunteers we’ve ever had.  We’re poised to be the most effective we’ve ever been.

But of course, we can’t do it without funds.  Expanding our capabilities to meet the needs or our affiliates and to battle the opposition takes money.  Giving Tuesday comes on December 3 this year.  If you give on that day, your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 and every dollar counts.

Please consider making your tax-exempt donation to the National Parents Organization.  You can do so here:


I know you value NPO’s work because you read our blog and follow our activities.  Won’t you help make us even better and more effective than we already are?  Children and parents across the country will thank you for doing so.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
action adult carry 1378866

November 25, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

It's a victory for Johnson who can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing she fought the system and finally, won.

But is it a victory?  Did Jean Johnson “win?”  If so, it’s a Pyrrhic one.

Jean Johnson’ son Lance was married to a woman who goes unnamed by this article (News4, 11/13/19).  They had two children, but Lance’s wife had an affair with another man and gave birth to his child.  She and Lance divorced and he was ordered to pay child support for his two children.  DNA evidence cited by the court proved Lance to be the father of only those two. 

Documents obtained by News 4 show the courts have confirmed the child in question was fathered through a relationship the child's mother had with another man years ago, while she was married to Johnson's son.

Lance seems to have paid the support he owed for his two kids, but the state child support enforcement agency, the Child Support Enforcement Division, decided he owed for all three children.  It therefore began calculating arrears based on his non-payment for the child who’s not his.  Lance moved out of state, but his mother, Jean, began a fight with the CSED to rectify its mistake and stop dunning Lance for money he didn’t owe.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

On our most recent Facebook live chat, Deputy Executive Director Ginger Gentile spoke with Collaborative Attorney and Author Ashley Nicole Russell, Esq. about how to de-escalate conflict in divorce, put the kids first, and why #sharedparenting is so important. As a child of divorce, Ashley-Nicole presents first-hand knowledge of how the current family law system creates conflict and how collaborative law can make the divorce process smoother and lessen the trauma contentious divorces can inflict on children.  Ashley-Nicole is the author of The Cure for Divorce Culture and recently wrote a post for our blog on how to successfully co-parent during the holidays. This video got over 1,400 view and presents new opportunities for shared parenting advocates and professionals involved in family law to come together to reform current practices that hurt kids.

You can reach Ashley-Nicole Russell, Esq at:

@anrlaw on social media
[email protected] 

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
daiga ellaby 7edWO30e32k unsplash

November 22, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Well, that didn’t take long.  I’ve been writing about the reaction, by those who apparently want fathers marginalized in their children’s lives, to the latest review of family law in Australia.  Their claims have little basis in fact and are best viewed as efforts to maintain the status quo in family courts.

Their main point is that judges routinely ignore mother’s claims of domestic violence and child abuse in order to hand over child custody to abusive fathers.  Of course, in many cases judges rule against mothers who claim abuse because there’s insufficient evidence of it or, sometimes, the claims are deliberately fabricated.  But according to the likes of Zoe Rathus and Jess Hill, mothers apparently never lie about abuse.  If Mom says it happened, it happened.  Such seems to be their basic assumption.

Indeed, the headline to the Rathus article was “Parental Alienation: the debunked theory that mothers lie about violence is still used in court.”  Never mind that that’s not what PA is and never mind that PA has never been “debunked” and in fact is coming to be more and more understood by legal and mental health practitioners.  The key to the Rathus piece (and others) is the assumption that mothers don’t lie about violence or abuse.  It’s patent nonsense, but that’s their claim.

Now, hard on the heels of those scurrilous claims, comes a case out of Nebraska that demands an answer from those who claim that, when a mother claims abuse, it’s always the truth.  What do they say to every judge in the case and every witness, expert and non-expert alike, who testified under oath that the mother in the case was not only wrong in her claims of abuse, but obviously so?  What do they say to the clear evidence that what Mom did in the case was itself abusive of her daughter?  Facts are stubborn things, so I’d be interested in their response.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
Ashley Nicole Russell

This three-part series is written by Ashley-Nicole Russell, an author, speaker, and attorney, who is a child of divorce and a divorcee. She is an expert in divorce culture and shared parenting techniques. Through this series, she will explain what divorcing parents need to keep in mind during the holiday season as they work through separation, divorce, and/or life after divorce.

Part 1: Pledging to Co-Parent

I’m sure you and your spouse never thought divorce would be in your future. While your lives will significantly change, your child’s life doesn’t have to be significantly impacted. The holiday season is full of excitement, magic, and wonder. You and your spouse must come to agreement that you both don’t want your divorce to change your child’s perception of Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, or New Year’s celebrations. 

As a Collaborative Law divorce attorney, I believe in co-parenting and shared parenting agreements rather than court ordered custody agreements. If you’ve never heard of it, the Collaborative process is a legal alternative to court proceedings for couples facing divorce. This type of divorce is similar, yet different from mediation. During a Collaborative Law divorce, you have an attorney who can give legal advice. Each spouse must have their own attorney as they are separately represented. In mediation, a third-party is tasked with negotiating settlements with neutrality. This third-party cannot offer legal advice and represents neither of the spouses during the process.

When children are involved, a Collaborative process if often favored by most parents because child custody agreements are handled out of the court system. Children are not meant for the environment of a volatile and traumatic courtroom. There are dozens of studies that show the lasting impact a traditional divorce proceeding can have on children. As researched and cited in my recently published book, The Cure for Divorce Culture, children of the traditional litigation divorce model commit suicide 30% more, are addicted to substances and alcohol 18% more, and divorce at an alarming rate or do not get married at all. A 35-year longitudinal study shows children are broken from the conflict of divorce. I believe this conflict begins in a large part with primary and secondary parental titles.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
SE Missourian

November 21, 2019 by Mark Bliss ~ Southeast Missourian

Area lawmakers will introduce bills for the 2020 state legislative session addressing everything from shared parenting to texting while driving.

Lawmakers can pre-file bills beginning next month.

State Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, said his top priority is to pass a shared-parenting bill. It would create a “rebuttal presumption” for parents in child-custody cases to receive equal time with their children, he said.

He introduced similar legislation last session, but it failed to pass.

“This is going to be a big push for me,” he said. “Most fatherlessness is created by outdated court systems, not abandonment, so I want to get that corrected.”

State Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, plans to offer a similar bill in the House. The goal, she said, is to force judges to start with the premise parents should be granted equal time with their children unless there is evidence showing such a move is not warranted.

Read the full article at the Southeast Missourian

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
action adult carry 1378866

November 21, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Augusto Zimmerman’s article in The Spectator summarizes his recommendations to the new Joint Committee on Australia’s Family Law System (The Spectator, 11/11/19).  Zimmerman is a heavyweight in the Australian family law community; among other things, he’s a law professor and former commissioner of the Law Reform Committee of Western Australia.  His words damn the system of domestic violence restraining orders from start to finish.

It’s a truism about human nature that, whenever we give power to any group of people, there’s a substantial likelihood that some of them will abuse that power.  The recognition of that truism explains why there are so few monarchies left, why we have a system of “checks and balances,” a Bill of Rights, etc.  It’s why we audit financial statements of businesses and monitor (ideally via the press) the doings of governmental officials.  It’s why we have elections.

And so it is with domestic violence and the restraining orders that Australian judges hand out like so much candy to children.  Those who claim victimization and seek restraining orders are placed by law in a position of power.  Most of them don’t abuse that power, but altogether too many of them do as the truism predicts.

It is that system of granting astonishing power to one person at the expense of others that Zimmerman so effectively excoriates.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

On November 14 Deputy Executive Director was joined live on Facebook by Kenya N. Rahmaan, the author of The Child Support Hustle (N.K. Clark) and the Founder of The Reform Child Support NOW! Movement. She joined NPOto discuss the child support system, how little of the money collected actually goes to kids, and how it creates modern day debtors' prisons. Ms. Rahmaan recently wrote a blog post for NPO about a man, Richard Scotti, who was denied a modification of his child support order when he found his earnings dropping with the decline of printing industry and now faces jail time. She let us know that "Dead broke should never mean ‘Deadbeat’ and it is not a crime to be poor." This video has gotten over 3,000 views on Facebook and opened up an important conversation around child support and shared parenting.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
boy child childhood 1320701

November 19, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors

The shoddy screeds written by Zoe Rathus and Jess Hill in an effort to convince Australian governmental authorities that mothers are ill treated by fathers and judges in family courts are predictably short on facts and intellectual scruples and long on indignation.  They and others who oppose kids maintaining real relationships with both parents following divorce or separation routinely cite bad “science,” ignore good science, misrepresent other science and fabricate definitions of parental alienation.  That’s apparently what you do when you don’t have anything of substance to contribute to the conversation.

But there are other people, reputable people, scrupulous people who are talking as well and it’s high time we paid attention to them.  One is Augusto Zimmerman.  He’s a heavyweight in Australian family law.  Here’s how this article describes him (The Spectator, 11/11/19):

Dr Augusto Zimmermann was a Law Reform Commissioner with the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia from 2012-2017. He is currently Professor and Head of Law at Sheridan College, Perth, and Professor of Law (Adjunct) at the University of Notre Dame Australia Sydney campus. He is also President of the Western Australian Legal Theory Association (WALTA).

Now, one of the claims/strong suggestions made by Rathus, Hill, et al is that mothers don’t lie about abuse.  Hill and American academic Joan Meier avoid saying so explicitly, being content to let their readers draw the desired conclusion.  Rathus is more frank; the headline of her recent piece in “The Conversation” reads “Parental Alienation: The Debunked Theory that Women Lie about Violence…”  That makes the matter plain; she wants us to believe that the theory that women lie about violence has been debunked.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
thiago cerqueira Wr3HGvx RSM unsplash

November 18, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Last time, I wrote about an article by Australian lawyer Zoe Rathus (The Conversation, 11/7/19).  The purpose of her piece was to try to cast doubt on the upcoming governmental review of family law and court practices.  That review is very much needed and very much feared by those who view with alarm the prospect of children maintaining meaningful relationships with both parents when the adults split up. 

The tactic of choice among those advocates is to cast aspersions on the very idea of parental alienation.  Since the facts that PA exists, is fairly widespread and constitutes child abuse are quite well established in the reliable scientific literature and the experiences of lawyers and judges, the task at hand for Rathus and others isn’t an easy one.  Having little-to-nothing with which to support their claims, they predictably (and all but invariably) resort to misleading their readers.

In the case of the Rathus article, its “honesty” fails to last past the fifth word of its headline which reads, “’Parental alienation’: the debunked theory that women lie about violence is still used in court.”

The problem being of course that parental alienation has never been debunked.  Indeed, it’s to be found in the DSM-V, albeit under another name.  Many, many researchers around the world are investigating all aspects of the matter and have produced much fine work, some of which was captured in Dr. William Bernet’s tome on the subject entitled “Parental Alienation: The Handbook for Mental Health and Legal Professionals.”  The book is relatively new, but our understanding of PA is not.  As Linda Gottlieb-Kase reported, research into what we now call PA dates back to the 1950s.

Plus, evidence of PA is routinely admitted by American courts under the most stringent standard for admissibility of expert testimony, known as the Daubert standard. 

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Our Deputy Executive Director Ginger Gentile appeared on ABC 15’s Sonoran Living in a segment that aired November 8. At minute three Ginger and the hosts discussed NPO’s Shared Parenting Report Card, Arizona’s “A” grade, the need to remove the anger and battles from divorce through shared parenting and mediation, and Kentucky’s first in the nation shared parenting law and its positive effects on families in Kentucky. They are now considering doing a three-part series on shared parenting, parental alienation, and family law reform!

Already this is the story getting the most shares and comments in their history BUT we need to get even more. If you have a minute, please comment on the video and share on your Facebook wall. If you have five minutes, please send to the politicians on your list and to at least ten friends in private message.

Sonoran Living’s Susan Casper also talked about Ginger's documentary, Erasing Family, which follows several families going through the pain of alienation and the impact on the children and the alienated parents. It points to the need for change in the Family Court System across the country to make shared parenting the norm from the beginning in order to avoid much of the pain and anger caused by current practices.

Ginger ends the segment by letting viewers know that research supports shared parenting as best for kids. We're sending the message that shared parenting is needed around the country and people are listening! We hope you'll share this with your family and friends and help us grow this movement and further the momentum created by the video!

There are three upcoming screenings of Erasing Family, two hosted by NPO. Please see below for details and to get tickets:

11/18/2019: St. Petersburg, FL hosted by National Parents Organization Florida. Tickets

11/19/2019: Boynton Beach, Palm Beach County, FL hosted by National Parents Organization Tickets

11/20/2019 Phoenix, AZ Tickets

National Parents Organization is interested in hosting more screenings, especially for lawmakers and family court professionals. Contact your local affiliate if you want to get involved.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
action adorable adult 1471843

November 15, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

I’d like to think we’re just watching the end of a bad horror flick from the 50s.  You know the type – the grainy black-and-white footage where the monster finally meets its end after destroying much of, say, Tokyo.  Amid roars and hisses and the thrashing of its tail, it sinks beneath the turbulent sea waters, never to be heard from again.  Or will it?  Stay tuned.

That’s the image that’s come to my mind when, in the past few weeks, I’ve read article after article all aimed at the same thing – casting doubt on the latest Australian governmental review of family law and courts in the Land Down Under.  Those who oppose children having full, meaningful relationships with their fathers post-divorce don’t like the new review for the simple reason that they fear the truth may at last come out.  Their shockingly hateful and misleading remarks put me in mind of that horror film monster gasping its last.

The previous review was much more to their liking.  It called for even the modest requirement that family judges “consider” shared parenting to be scrapped.  The anti-dad crowd in Australia considered that just the thing to keep mothers in control of custody outcomes and therefore maintain the flow of funds from fathers to mothers, but not the other way around.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Authors – Tom McDermott and Nicholas Dreeszen of Families United Action Network
Originally posted at FamiliesUnite.org
FUAN Veterans Day 2019 FI 865x479

Veteran's Day is a day when we acknowledge the sacrifices veterans have made for our country. Frequently, veterans are asked to put themselves in harm's way to protect our country and our way of life. Since there hasn't been a draft since the '70s, most of our soldiers volunteered for service. Almost all veterans are happy and proud to have served. It is because of their sacrifice that the American life as we know it is possible. 

ALL of our freedoms come from these brave individuals standing up to protect every American. Your American way may mean starting with bacon and eggs for breakfast, playing frisbee in the afternoon, or dancing all night. Other citizens have the freedom to live the way they feel is best for them. It's the way our founders envisioned American life.

According to the VA, there are approximately 18 million veterans in the US (about 7.6 percent of the population). To give you a visual, it would take around 338 football stadiums filled to capacity to hold all of our living veterans. 

Most of these veterans return to civilian life and become productive citizens and live the American dream. But what about the rest? Have you ever stopped to put yourself in their shoes to capture the emotions that they are feeling or to realize the different struggles that they may be facing? 

Have you ever stopped to ask WHY ARE WE LOSING AN AVERAGE OF 22 of these warriors EVERY DAY to suicide?

Have you taken a moment to ask, “What can I do to help those who have helped me without ever asking for anything in return?”

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
child cute dad 105952

November 12, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

When I practiced law, I never had a judge find me or a client in contempt of court.  I never had a judge say this to me or a client:

I can no longer find [you] to be credible in any way,” Jack said. “It’s shameful … You all cannot be relied upon for anything. Period.

Or this:

You have created a crisis. You are trying to fix it and blame it on somebody else.

I’ve never had a judge accuse a client of lying under oath, threaten to put a client in jail or reprimand me or a client for lack of appropriate courtroom decorum.

But then I never represented the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services either.  Federal Judge Janis Jack did all that to TDFPS officials during a recent hearing on whether the state had complied with court orders.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn