our-blog-icon-top
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


Deputy Executive Director Ginger Gentile and Chair of our Board of Directors walk you through using our Shared Parenting Report Card to create change in your state in the video from our live chat on October 10, 2019. 

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

October 15, 2019 by Linda Reutzel

Kentucky’s monumental passage of a shared-parenting bill last year has been deemed the most popular vote in the state.

According to an Aug. 30 opinion piece in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Administrative Office of the Courts has issued a report that shows a reduction in domestic court cases by 11% and a reduction of 445 cases of domestic violence since the full law took effect. Missouri, the Show-Me state, has clearly been shown.

Two key and influential Missouri state lawmakers, Sen. Wayne Wallingford and Rep. Kathy Swan, are continuing to rise to the challenge in making effective change on this issue here at home. The two Republicans planned to kick off a viewing of the powerful and gripping documentary “Erasing Family” in Cape Girardeau this month. The documentary explores trauma experienced by children when a loving, fit parent is erased from their lives because of separation and divorce. The documentary’s launch in Missouri is fittingly in their corner of the state. Additional screenings will continue as the documentary goes on the road.

More and more Missouri elected officials are turning their attention to the critical and frequently intertwined issues of social justice and criminal justice, and this provides every opportunity for legislation that these lawmakers will file again in the 2020 session to be a top priority in the Missouri Legislature. The legislative change they seek simply starts with a premise that there are two fit parents, and judges should be allowed discretion to make child-custody arrangements that award equal or approximately equal parenting time to each parent if doing so is in the best interests of the child.

Some progress has been made.

Read the rest here.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
cartoon
October 16, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
In case Jess Hill’s article in The Guardian wasn’t clear enough, this cartoon should make the matter abundantly so (The Guardian, 10/4/19).  It’s an eight-panel piece by Andrew Marlton, a.k.a. First Dog on the Moon.  Now, didactic work is almost never humorous, but I suspect Marlton’s goal was less comedy than to display his ignorance of the subject his piece is about, i.e. the new review of family law in Australia.  If so, he’s done an admirable job.  Some may regard his astonishing misandry as a detriment, but clearly The Guardian does not.
So for example we learn that those who seek equality in family courts are really either child abusers, wife abusers or enablers of those who are.  Quoth the First Dog:
Obviously not all angry dads are abusers, but many are working hard to ensure that those who are get access to their children.
Oh, is that what I’ve been doing all these years?  Who knew?  The reality of course is the opposite of what Marlton claims.  In all my years of advocating for family court reform, I’ve met countless men and women who are fighting the same fight.  Not one has ever excused abuse or promoted parental rights at the cost of endangering children.  You’d think that, if that were the core of the family court reform movement, I’d have run into not just one or two such people, but scads of them.  I haven’t because that’s not what this movement is about.  Marlton’s either lying or inexcusably ignorant.
Marlton is too in thrall to his own ideology to know it, but the truth is that bills to equalize parental rights invariably contain an “out” clause for child abuse and domestic violence.  And under existing law, judges are required to consider claims of abuse when ordering custody and parenting time.  Those are the facts, but the anti-equality crowd’s got its story and it’s stickin’ to it.  That story was adequately told by Jess Hill and Marlton repeats it: men are violent and a danger to kids; women aren’t.

Share this post

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

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

We’re back to Jess Hill’s thoroughly scurrilous article in The Guardian, about which I wrote last time.  Now, in my last piece, I tried to hit the high (or low) points of Hill’s article, but there was no way I could cover all its many defects.

Like other articles we’ve seen, Hill’s main point is that family courts routinely hand custody to abusive fathers.  Given that, fathers should have even less contact with their kids than they now do.  Indeed, that seems to have become the excuse du jour of those who would deny children healthy relationships with their fathers.  And as ever, lacking any facts to support that excuse, people like Hill resort to simply making some things up and ignoring the many facts that contradict their thesis.

So, for example, Hill makes the remarkable assertion that those of us who advocate for family court reform are actually demanding “laws mandating equal shared parenting.”  That of course is entirely untrue.  I’ve been going to bat every day for the last 11 years for equal parenting and never seen a single bill in any state or nation that “mandated equal shared parenting.”  Not one.  At most, those bills would have established a rebuttable presumption that equal parenting is in children’s best interests, assuming fit, non-abusive parents.

Most of Hill’s piece is her recounting of what she says is the history of shared parenting advocates to influence the Australian Parliament.  Some of that, like the short-lived requirement that parents promote the child’s relationship with the other parent (a.k.a. the “friendly parent” provision), she actually gets right. But, in tracing the history of the reform movement, Hill leaves out a fact that many would consider germane to the issue, i.e. that none of the efforts by reform advocates actually improved fathers’ chances of either getting custody or enforcing their “right” of access to their kids.  Yes, the law changed somewhat over the years, but there’s absolutely no indication that any of it helped.  To admit such a fact would obviously undermine Hill’s sense of grievance, so she leaves it out.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn



Nataly Antar, founder of Amazing Moms without Custody and New York National Parents Organization Chapter Member was on Dad Talk Today talking about how gender fighting gets in the way of putting kids first in the Shared Parenting Movement. You can follow AMWOC here

Share this post

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

October 14, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

If Jess Hill’s screed in The Guardian weren’t dated October 2, 2019, I’d have guessed it was a blast from the distant past – the mid-90s, perhaps (Guardian, 10/2/19).  That’s because it traffics in the same frankly false and misleading sorts of claims and the virulent misandry that we so often saw back then regarding fathers, children and child custody.  It’s astonishing to read such nonsense in 2019.

As I reported in my last piece, Hill was spurred to write the article by the Australian government’s announcement that it’s going to review child custody laws.  The latest such review was so badly done, so obviously biased and so clearly at odds with known facts and science that it richly deserves to be replaced.  But that upcoming replacement is what has Hill in a lather.  The nut of her article is that Australian family courts routinely give custody of children (or at least access) to abusive fathers.

Since numbered lists of things have long been the rage, here are six things we can “learn” from Hill’s Guardian piece:

1.Men perpetrate domestic violence and women don’t.

Throughout her article, Hill invariably refers to perpetrators as men and victims as women.  And that’s not just the case with the Guardian piece.  Hill’s written a lot about DV and it’s always the same.  Nowhere does she cite any data for the proposition of course since all the reliable information on DV shows women making up at least 50% of those who initiate family violence.  Indeed, source after source tells us that lesbian relationships are the most prone to violence of all, but those facts don’t fit Hill’s narrative, so they don’t appear in her article.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

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

Writer Jess Hill gets a lot wrong in her article here (The Guardian, 10/2/19).  I’ll say more about that later, but about the Australian government’s new inquiry into the family law system, we can only hope she gets this much right:

 It is, I believe, a deliberate move by the government to bury the findings of the two [previous] inquiries it commissioned.

If only it were true.  I wrote about the most recent of those efforts by the Australian Law Reform Commission here, here and here.  To put it mildly, the ALRC’s document was so shoddy, so entirely lacking in balance and indeed basic facts that burial is the best that can be hoped for.

Here’s what veteran Aussie journalist Bettina Arndt told me about the ALRC’s review of family courts:

The terms of this enquiry had over 200 references to violence and no mention at all of enforcement of contact orders, parental alienation or any of the other relevant issues. They were bombarded with submissions from women’s groups arguing that children need protection from violence fathers and of course most of the cases that make it to court include violence orders, because this is now the major tactic mothers use to gain power in family law disputes. The recommendations reflect that bias and the success of the orchestrated campaign from feminists to wind back Australia’s laws supporting shared parenting. 

Ms. Arndt, you’re too kind.  I won’t go into the many flaws of the Commission’s report, but will try to summarize.  As Arndt pointed out, it was almost entirely a product of input from those who oppose shared parenting per se and who believe that the worldwide movement on behalf of children maintaining real relationships with both parents following divorce is nothing but a ruse to hand over kids to abusive fathers.  If anyone else provided input to the Commission, its report failed to present their views or complaints.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
Jennifer Harman 01 21 13 0028 R

October 10, 2019 by Jennifer J. Harman, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, Colorado State University

“High-conflict” is a label assigned to many parents who have on-going conflict after their separation or divorce. As an associate professor who has researched and published on the topic of intimate relationship dynamics for nearly 20 years, this label never quite sat well with me. When we think about conflict, the old adage “it takes two to tango” often underlies assumptions of the parties involved. Attributions of blame are regularly placed on “high conflict” parents, as if they are both responsible for the continued strife that repeatedly leads them back to family court for intervention. Exasperated legal and mental health professionals throw their hands up in the air and tell the parents “why can’t you two just get along?!” This assumption that both parents are equally responsible for conflict is naïve and reflects a poor understanding of the role of power in family violence.

Research on domestic violence has identified two basic forms:

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
dad kids guitar

October 7, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

A lawsuit against the State of New York seeks to overturn a 39-year-old law that appears to blatantly and unconstitutionally discriminate against unmarried fathers.  Just when I think I’ve seen everything, something like this crops up.

In New York, mothers, whether married or not have the full panoply of parental rights.  Unmarried fathers do not.  So if Mom is found to be unfit to care for little Andy or Jenny or is abusive toward them, she can lose her parental rights.  The question then becomes, “What happens to the kids?”  As the Urban Institute discovered back in 2006, all too often Dad is ignored as a possible placement for the children who go into foster care.  That particular scenario was held to be an unconstitutional infringement on fathers’ rights by the 9th Federal Circuit, but unfortunately for New York fathers, the 9th Circuit doesn’t control New York courts.

But that’s far from all.  Not only are fathers often ignored as possible placements for children, but, unknown to them, they’re required to pay child support, not to the mother who’s lost custody, but to the state foster care system.  Yes, there’s a law requiring them to do that, but there are a few hitches.  First, the state never lets them know they’re obligated to pay.  Second, the state never lets them know how much to pay, to whom or where.  Third, the state never lets them know that, if they don’t pay, they’re considered to have abandoned the child and the state will move to terminate their parental rights.

In New York, lawyers for fathers said that making payments to foster care agencies was not even possible. The agencies do not try to collect the money, they said, and fathers do not know where or to whom to send it.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

action adorable adult 1471843October 8, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

When he was growing up, Ronnell Hampton’s father wrote a check every month for $600 for child support.  But because Hampton and his mother lived in California, they only ever saw $50 of that per month.  Why?  Because Hampton’s mother had received welfare payments and, under California law all child support except the first $50 per month went to the state to reimburse it for those payments.

Now there are two laws awaiting the governor’s signature that would ever so slightly improve child support policy in the Golden State (CalMatters, 9/30/19).  The first would direct the first $100 – instead of the first $50 - of each child support payment to the child’s family and still reserve the rest to the state.  In other words, the California Legislature still prefers revenue for the state’s general fund over money for kids.

The original bill would have sent all support payments to the children for whom they were intended, but lawmakers eyed the money brought into state coffers from non-custodial parents and capped the amount at just $100.

An earlier version of [Senator Nancy] Skinner’s bill would have gone even further, directing 100% of child support payments to the family. That provision was ultimately removed amid concerns it would be too costly for the state…

California receives about $370 million each year from non-custodial parents who intend it for their kids and it seems lawmakers aren’t about to let the little tykes have it.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Don HubinFox News published an op-ed by NPO’s Don Hubin, Ph.D. about the results of our updated Shared Parenting Report Card:

A study just published by the National Parents Organization reveals that most states have a long way to go to improve the lives of children whose parents are living apart. The good news is that there is a path to that goal—a goal that everyone shares—that is widely agreed on and … it’s free!

National Parents Organization researchers evaluated the statutes of all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine the degree to which those laws promote the well-being of children by encouraging separated parents to share as equally as possible in rearing their children. NPO then graded the states’ statutes based on 21 factors that encourage or discourage shared parenting.

The 2019 NPO Shared Parenting Report Card contains some good news but, overall, the news is depressing. The average grade for all of the states is a disappointing ‘C-’.

More than a quarter-century of high-quality research shows that children of divorced and separated parents do best when both parents share parental responsibilities roughly equally—when children do not suddenly find themselves with one overburdened parent and one “every other weekend visitor.” In light of this research, state legislatures should be doing everything they can to encourage this equal co-parenting. It should be the presumed post-separation parenting arrangement.

Read the rest at Fox News.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

October 6, 2019 by Christian Paasch, National Parents Organization of Virginia

What would you do if your child, who had been getting a D- on report cards, brought one home with a C- instead? Would you rejoice and say that’s good enough? Or would you view it as a decent start with plenty of opportunity for improvement?

That is exactly the kind of improved position Virginia is in, thanks to a legislative push from the Virginia affiliate of the National Parents Organization.

As a result of the landmark 2018 HB 1351, which simply requires courts to consider joint physical custody and joint legal custody on par with or equal to sole custody, Virginia has just received a C- in NPO’s 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card. While this is certainly not outstanding, it does put Virginia on the right path toward doing not only what’s been proven best for children and families, but what its neighboring state of Kentucky has already done: Make shared parenting the norm and de facto starting point.

Recently, NPO released its 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card — the latest study to issue each state’s child custody statutes a grade, A through F. This report card provides a comprehensive ranking of states on their child custody statutes, assessing them primarily on the degree to which they promote shared parenting versus sole custody, after divorce or separation.

Thanks to Del. Glenn Davis, Virginia passed its first ever “shared parenting friendly” bill in 2018 — and Virginia’s children and families can thank him for being better off for it. This bill’s success is further underscored by its unanimous, bipartisan passing and Gov. Ralph Northam’s support via a formal signing ceremony for the bill.

Read the rest here.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

October 5, 2019 by Linda Reutzel, National Parents Organization of Missouri

Kentucky’s monumental passage of a shared parenting bill last year has been deemed “the most popular vote in the state.”

According to a recent article in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Administrative Office of the Courts reported an 11 percent reduction in domestic court cases and a reduction of 445 domestic violence cases under the law. Missouri, the Show-Me State, has clearly been shown.

More and more Missouri elected officials are turning their attention to the critical and frequently intertwined issues of social justice and criminal justice, and this provides every opportunity for legislation that lawmakers will file again in the 2020 session to be a top priority. The policy change starts with a premise that there are two fit parents and provides a judge with discretion to determine otherwise and a built-in mechanism for a rebuttable presumption.

Read the rest here.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn


October 7, 2019 by Don Hubin, Ph.D., Chair, National Board of Directors

What does Saturday Night Live have against dads? It’s hard to say but, apparently, the show’s writers and producers have father issues.

First, there was the “Christmas Dad” sketch last December. This drew fire not only from NPO (here, and here) but also from the Canadian writer Barbara Kay (here), who described the sketch as “an act of vile misandry.”

Now SNL is at it again, but their denigration isn’t aimed only at divorced dads. It’s aimed at all dads.

The sketch titled, simply, ‘“Dad” (9/28/2019), portrays a 1980s dad, portrayed by Woody Harrelson, who is so focused on work he conducts on his brick-sized cell phone that he completely ignores his son’s obvious distress. This leads the son to rap about this paternal neglect, expressing the rejection that tears at his heart.

Sounds funny so far, right?

The son (Kyle Moonie) is joined in the rap by a friend, Colby (Chris Redd), and some awkward dancing, presumably intended to be humorous, ensues.

Then, there’s a moment when Dad appears to have an epiphany: he realizes he’s been so consumed with work that he’s been ignoring his son. The dad joins in the rap and asks “What have I become?”

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

October 4, 2019 by Christian Paasch, National Parents Organization of Virginia

WHAT WOULD you do if your child, who had been getting D- grades on report cards, brought one home with a C- instead? Would you rejoice and say that’s good enough? Or would you view it as a decent start with plenty of opportunity for improvement?

That is exactly the kind of improved position Virginia is in, based on recent legislative action by your Virginia affiliate of the National Parents Organization.

As a result of the landmark 2018 H.B. 1351, which requires courts to consider joint physical custody and joint legal custody on par with or equal to sole custody, Virginia has just received a C- in the 2019 NPO Shared Parenting Report Card.

While this is certainly not outstanding, it does put Virginia on the right path toward doing not only what’s been proven best for children and families, but what its neighboring state of Kentucky has already done: make shared parenting the norm and de facto starting point.

Recently, the National Parents Organization released its 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card — the latest study to issue each state’s child custody statutes a grade, A through F. This report card provides a comprehensive ranking of states on their child custody statutes, assessing them primarily on the degree to which they promote shared parenting versus sole custody, after divorce or separation.

Thanks to Del. Glenn Davis, Virginia passed its first ever “shared parenting friendly” bill in 2018 — and Virginia’s children and families can thank him for being better off for it. This bill’s success is further underscored by its unanimous, bipartisan passing and Gov. Ralph Northam’s support via a formal signing ceremony for the bill.

Read the rest here.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

October 2, 2019 by Chad Phillips, National Parents Organization of West Virginia

With the release of National Parents Organization’s 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card, it remains clear that there is still much work to do in West Virginia. Many states are moving closer to shared parenting as the norm in family courts. However, West Virginia lags behind, receiving a grade of C-.

There is effort to improve our family court system, but most changes are met with resistance. Some improvements include legislation pertaining to false allegations of abuse, as well as a change in parental responsibilities pertaining to custody percentages.

According to several professional studies, shared equal custody benefits children greatly after a separation or divorce. Our children deserve to have as much meaningful time and contact with both their parents before, during and after a separation regardless of the attitude of the parents. The best protection for the children in West Virginia would be new legislation providing equal time with both parents in temporary and final court orders, assuming there is no proof of a history of abuse.

Proof is important. We wouldn’t send someone to prison for bank robbery just because they were accused. They are entitled to due process, which includes a trial. If found guilty, they pay the price for their crime.

Family court doesn’t have to meet the same burden of proof, however. Children are often removed from a parent’s life over a false accusation. All children need protection from all adults in their lives whether it be parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches or their medical providers.

Read the rest here.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

October 1, 2019 by Will Mitchell, National Parents Organization of Kansas

This week marked the release of the 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card issued by the National Parents Organization. The grading serves as a national study to provide a comprehensive ranking of the states on their child custody statutes, assessing them primarily on the degree to which they promote shared parenting after divorce or separation.

This study was motivated by the tremendous impact our nation’s family courts have on children whose parents are divorced or separated, and by recent consensus statements by leading child development research organizations that confirm children thrive with shared parenting following separation or divorce. A research team evaluated the child custody statutes of each state and determined a shared parenting grade for each, based on existing statutes.

Kansas earned a C- according to the NPO research.

Garrett Tacha, who lives in western Kansas, recently celebrated a ruling in his county courthouse which gave him equal custody time with his children. Tears of joy began to stream down his face as he walked out of the courtroom. His reaction was understandable considering he had to wait nearly three years after his divorce and pay over $30,000 in attorney fees in order to have meaningful time with his children. Tacha would later say, “I don’t understand why I had to spend thousands of dollars to prove that I am a fit and loving parent.”

If Tacha is confused by our family courts, he’s not the only one. His case serves as perfect example of why legislative reform is needed to help fix our courts.

Tacha was a fit parent without a criminal record, had never committed a violent crime in his life but was only allowed to see his children 15 hours a week by the judge. “The outcome of the court was awful. I couldn’t believe it. My heart was in pieces after that court date,” he said.

Read the rest here.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

September 29, 2019 by Molly Olson

Equal-shared-parenting legislation continues to sweep the nation. This year, more than half of all states across the country considered long overdue legislation to equally protect a child’s time with each fit parent after divorce and separation.

In Minnesota, an equal-parenting bill was heard on the floor of the state House of Representatives. However, with a 67-67 tie vote, our 2019 Legislature failed to pass it.

For over 20 years, citizen advocates in Minnesota have been educating policymakers and asking state legislators to pass laws for a “rebuttable presumption” of equal-shared-parenting time. This non-partisan legal reform creates a starting place of equal parenting time for fit parents. It includes exceptions to protect the safety of children, considers practical limitations, and it’s never a mandate.

This year, the Minnesota bill had strong bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate. Sadly, heavy-handed, misleading scare tactics from the divorce-lawyer lobby and highly partisan late-night drama on the House floor resulted in four DFL legislators withdrawing support.

Legal reform is needed for good reason. Decades of credible research are clear: Children thrive with both parents equally in their lives. Restricting a child’s access to one fit parent below equal time poses great risk to children.

This month, the National Parents Organization published its newly updated Equal Shared Parenting Report Card. This report card provides an overview of how each state ranks on 21 different statutory measures. These measures, developed by NPO, impact the degree to which state laws support the equal involvement of both fit parents after divorce and separation. The last report card was completed in 2014. NPO has clarified that the true grade for Minnesota in 2014 was a D.

Read the rest here.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
chris benson mB7PrY1psGc unsplash
October 3, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

Criticism of the system of child support enforcement is spreading.  Gradually, the realization that that system is draconian and often acts contrary to its stated aims is seeping into regional publications (Tulsa World, 9/26/19).

Eva Durchholz may only be a college student, but, when it comes to our system of child support enforcement, she gets it.  A student at Vanderbilt, she recently completed an internship that allowed her to observe child support practices in action.

The Tulsa court system discriminates against people in poverty.

Indeed it does.  As the Office of Child Support Enforcement has been saying since at least 2006, courts begin by setting child support at levels parents can’t pay, tack on interest that in some states hits the 12% per annum level and, when the inevitable arrearages crop up, suspend the debtor’s license to drive and perhaps other licenses.  Then, as night follows day, comes jail.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn


Joe Hunter, a father of six, spoke at the press conference for the release of our Shared Parenting Report Card on September 18, 2019 on the difficulties he faced trying to get shared parenting after his divorce and his hopes for change.

Share this post

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

September 30, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors

In Professor Meier’s study of 4,338 family law cases, courts credited mothers’ claims of abuse against fathers 36% of the time, i.e. in 795 out of 2,189 cases.

Meier went on to examine the rate of corroboration of those claims of abuse.  Unfortunately, she did so in a way that was essentially guaranteed to overstate the rate at which claims of abuse were corroborated.  That’s because she considered every case to be “corroborated” in which a protective order was issued, a man was arrested or was prosecuted.

As close followers of domestic violence law, policy and practice know well, none of that means that DV actually occurred.  The mere allegation of domestic violence is usually sufficient to have a man arrested and a protective order issued against him.  “No drop” policies by prosecutors ensure prosecution, even when the complainant seeks to withdraw the charge or refuses to cooperate with the state.  In short, Meier’s definition of corroboration in no way means that DV occurred, only that she concluded that it did.

So how many corroborated cases were there out of the 4,338 total cases analyzed?  Just 599, or about 13.7% of all cases.  Given Meier’s expansive definition of “corroboration,” we’d think there’d have been more, but over 86% of cases didn’t even have that.  This again brings up the question I’ve asked in previous pieces on Meier’s study: what is the nature of the abuse referred to in the cases reviewed?  Surely serious cases of DV involving overt injury would have been corroborated by at least one of the required criteria - protective orders, arrest or prosecution.  The remarkably low number of cases with corroborated allegations strongly suggests what the rest of Meier’s data do – that the overwhelming majority of abuse claims allege relatively minor and/or non-injurious incidents.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

September 28, 2019 by Don Hubin, PhD, Chair, National Board of Directors

National Parents Organization just published the 2019 NPO Shared Parenting Report Card, and the news for Ohioans isn’t great. The Buckeye state received a middling “C,” the same grade it received in the NPO study five years ago.

That’s no surprise.

In those five years, the Ohio legislature has made no improvements in our laws dealing with post-separation parenting. As a result, Ohio is behind the times; let me count the ways.

First, Ohio legislators have not responded to the research done in the past three decades that provides compelling evidence that in most cases, and absent abuse, children of separated parents do best when parents share as equally as possible in the responsibilities of raising the children. Indeed, surprising many, this research shows that children who are parented equally by both parents living separately do about as well on average as children raised in families where the parents live together. And they do much better than children raised in sole-custody arrangements.

Our statutes, to the degree that they seek to truly promote the best interest of children, should reflect these results.

Read the rest here

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

September 28, 2019 by Tony Bickel, National Parents Organization of Wisconsin

As Wisconsinites, we can be proud of how separated Wisconsin parents address and fulfill their financial obligations for their children.

According to the Department of Children and Families website dialog box of current support obligations, Wisconsin parents ranked high compared to all 50 states. Although Wisconsin isn’t at 100% yet, the rate has been trending upward for years now.

Many studies have been done on the value of shared parenting and its positive effects on children, including emotional stability, academic success and significant reductions in drug use and juvenile delinquency.

Recently, the National Parents Organization put out a report card rating each of the 50 states on the prevalence of shared parenting statutes for children with separated parents. Wisconsin received a B-. Although this is above the average, it is a reminder that we must continue to strive for improvement and education on meeting the needs of children in homes without both parents living together.

Read the rest here.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
jonas kakaroto 6mKYvWQF6yw unsplash

September 30, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors

We need fathers in children’s lives.  The epidemic of fatherlessness that’s descended on this country and made itself right at home is the single worst social problem we face.  About a third of divorced or separated fathers have no contact with their children.  In too many ways to count, that’s bad for kids, bad for dads, bad for mothers and bad for society.  Fatherlessness is accomplished in many different ways, from divorce courts to adoption laws to child support laws and to, yes, this (Fox17, 8/21/19).

Nashville native Antonio Davis is a fine and loving father.  His two kids will tell you that.

To his son and daughter, Antonio Davis is everything.

His daughter Antonia describes him this way: "By having him as my father, that's the best thing I could have, and I'm truly lucky to have him."

That’s great, but just because Davis is everything we’d want a father to be doesn’t mean our system of laws and practices respects him or what he has to offer children. 

Eighteen years ago, Davis had a relationship with a woman who goes unnamed in the article.  She announced that she was pregnant and that Davis was the father.  As we’d expect of a man like Davis, he stepped up and signed a paternity acknowledgement.  That meant he was admitting paternity and committing to support the child.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn