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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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December 28, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Now we come to the nut of Bud Dale’s claims to the Family Law Advisory Committee of the Kansas Judicial Council.  In my first piece, I dealt with the fact that Dale intentionally misrepresented to the committee NPO’s report on the parenting time guidelines of Ohio family courts.  In my second, I pointed out that he relies on the current system for at least part of his income, a fact that may better explain his opposition to salutary change than any principled opposition to children having meaningful relationships with their father post-divorce.  I also noted that, although he was on the AFCC committee that promulgated guidelines for the use of scientific literature in forensic settings, Dale violated at least three of the ten guidelines in his letter to the Family Law Advisory Committee.

His letter gives a glimpse of his take on shared parenting and the science on parenting time and children’s well-being.

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

As I mentioned in my last piece, Bud Dale’s letter to the Family Law Advisory Committee of the Kansas Judicial Council is riddled with inaccuracies and at least one outright lie. But it gets worse. Dale opposes any change in the law that would promote shared parenting arrangements for kids post-divorce. His letter would have the committee believe that he does so out of the highest of high principles, but a closer examination of Dale himself suggests otherwise.

Dale is both a lawyer and a psychologist. Wearing his latter hat, he earns money as a custody evaluator. Wearing his former, he earns money as a mediator. In short, he feeds at two troughs provided by the existing family court system, troughs that might well run dry and be upended by a presumption of shared parenting. Dare we to deduce that his opposition to shared parenting is more of a matter of self-interest than of the best interests of kids?

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Everyone at National Parents Organization wishes you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas filled with joy and cheer. 

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

Someone named Bud Dale has decided to set himself up in Kansas as (apparently) the sole arbiter regarding the science on shared versus sole parenting. Dale advertises himself as a “licensed PhD. psychologist and attorney in Topeka, Kansas.” In all the studies on shared parenting I’ve read and read about, I’ve never seen his name mentioned nor cited as a researcher in the field. The finest scientists in the field of parenting time and children’s well-being gathered in Boston in May of 2017 for a conference whose aim was to distill the state of knowledge about that topic. Dale wasn’t there, nor was he mentioned.

Nevertheless, Dale seems to have insinuated himself into the good graces of the Family Law Advisory Committee of the Kansas Judicial Council. His purpose appears to be to take issue with proponents of shared parenting, most notably Profs. Linda Nielsen and Richard Warshak. To that end, Dale’s written a letter to the aforesaid Committee. If his letter is any indication of his overall trustworthiness, no one should take Dale seriously.

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

A recent appellate court decision in Kentucky casts doubt on the future of parental rights for unmarried same-sex partners.

Teri Whitehouse and Tammie Delaney were partners. The mutually agreed that Delaney would become pregnant via a sperm donor.

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

Leave it to The Guardian to make the domestic violence situation worse, not better (The Guardian, 12/4/18). The type of virulent misandry on parade in the linked-to piece belongs in the ash heap of history, but The Guardian is nothing if not a throwback to older, less-informed times. It’s one of the troglodytes of the British press, the only silver lining to the cloud being that its readership has declined for years until today it’s next to nothing.

The article’s premise is that men commit domestic violence, women don’t, women are victims, men aren’t and therefore, the only way to reduce the incidence of DV is for men to be, well, different.

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

It’s a truism that bad facts make bad law and nothing reaffirms it like this case (Express, 12/7/18).

A judge in England has ruled that a child may be adopted without ever letting the father know of its existence. The reason? Dad’s a bad person.

Now, Dad was only 14 years old when he had sex with a girl he’d met at school. She was 13. She says she didn’t know she was pregnant until she went into labor. Whatever the case, Dad doesn’t know he has a child and, according to Judge Cohen, he never will.

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

The way-past-its-sell-by-date comedy, Saturday Night Live, has recently outraged fathers and those who care about them everywhere with two of its skits.  And the estimable Barbara Kay doesn’t like it one bit (National Post, 12/18/18).  The two pieces were so bad that the usually restrained Kay called the first one “an act of vile misandry.”  Just so.

Here’s her description of the piece:

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

Here’s some good, albeit old, news on the alimony front (Money, 11/17/15).

It seems that, with women earning more than in previous decades, more of them are being ordered to pay alimony when they divorce.  And apparently that doesn’t sit well with them, so they’re fighting back.
Now that women are paying alimony more often, they are getting involved in advocating for change.
“It’s unfair for men to pay it, and unfair for women to pay it. But women are much more outraged by it,” said Ken Neumann, a founder of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators.
I hope he’s right.  The more people we have demanding alimony reform, the better.  Of course, as with so many articles of this sort, we’re left to simply believe someone who expresses an opinion.  Neumann cites nothing authoritative for his statement.

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

“Deadbeat dads” are back in the British news (Independent, 12/13/18).  Oh, the article avoids the term, but the message is the same – fathers don’t care about their kids, so, when Mom divorces Dad, Dad doesn’t want to pay.  We could write the narrative in our sleep.  Needless to say, the article is all of a piece with a thousand others.  Like many of them though, it inadvertently reveals facts about the child support system some would prefer to remain unknown.

It seems that many divorced and separated fathers in the U.K. don’t pay child support or, if they do, don’t pay much.  Or at least that’s what the mothers of their children say.  In keeping with the genre, the survey to which it refers makes no mention of fathers, what their feelings are about the child custody and support systems or indeed anything related to fathers.  Nor does it inquire into non-custodial mothers’ rates of child support.  If the mothers think fathers are anything but walking wallets, there’s no indication of it in the article.

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

A federal judge in Houston has struck a blow for child abduction, child abuse and violation of law (CBS News, 12/13/18).  On Wednesday, Judge Alfred H. Bennett sentenced Carlos Guimaraes to just three months in prison and his wife Jemima to a mere one month for their part in the abduction of their grandson Nicholas Brann by his mother to Brazil.

I’ve written about the case here and here among others.

Nico’s mother, Marcelle Guimaraes, was married to Houston physician Christopher Brann.  Nico was their only child.  Marcelle filed for divorce in 2012 when Nico was three years old.  A Houston court granted the divorce and ordered the pair to share parenting and custody (more on that later).  Only then did Marcelle abduct Nico to Brazil with the help of her wealthy parents. 

Brann filed suit in Brazil under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  Courts there found that Marcelle had taken the boy illegally, but have refused to order his return to his father on the grounds that Nico has acclimated to his life there.

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

The report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) continues from yesterday.
The colloquial term “deadbeat dads” is a common stereotype and colors all aspects of men’s involvement in the adoption process. A Canadian study on attitudes of triad members toward releasing identifying information on adoptees to birthparents found that respondents were much more willing to grant access rights to mothers than to fathers (Sachdev, 1991). The author concludes that members of the adoption community share the prevailing stereotypical views of the birthfather as a “Don Juan” or “phantom father” – that is, little more than a sperm donor.

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

In my response to the Washington Post’s article on the parental rights of incarcerated parents, I had occasion to skewer claims by two “experts” that taking children from their parents is OK because they can simply be adopted and therefore have a “forever home.”  As I pointed out, the arithmetic regarding adoption definitively refutes that notion.

That encouraged me to consult the best source of information regarding adoption in the U.S., the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI).  Alas, its website says that DAI has been shuttered since the beginning of this year, but fortunately, its work product is still there.  That means I have the best data available on adoption.

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

I return now to the Washington Post article I wrote about last Friday (Washington Post, 12/3/18).

The article’s a pretty long one and it covers an important issue – that of the parental rights of prison inmates.  Put simply, it reports on a Marshall Project finding that many parents lose their children solely because they’ve gone to prison.  That is, there’s been no finding of abuse or neglect, but only that the parent is in prison, regardless of the length of the sentence. 

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December 8, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act will be considered by Congress in 2019. The reauthorization bill, H.B. 6545, is dangerously flawed and must be substantially amended. It contains a definition of domestic violence that is almost certainly unconstitutional, makes behavior actionable that non-violent couples routinely engage in and that can be part of healthy adult relationships. It likely would worsen domestic violence by overburdening police and courts with non-serious claims while increasing state intervention into family life.

Here is the definition proposed by H.B. 6545:

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December 7, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

As Washington Post articles go, this isn’t bad (Washington Post, 12/3/18).  It raises a real issue – the parental rights of incarcerated parents – and provides readers valuable information.  But of course, this being the Post, it also ignores vast swaths of the issue in order to maintain intact its preconceived notions about parents and those of much of its readership.

Its gist is that state child welfare officials too readily take children into foster care and move to terminate their parents’ rights based solely on the fact that the latter have committed a crime and been imprisoned.

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The following by long-time friend of NPO and staunch advocate for family law reform Paulette MacDonald.

Dear Santa,

My name is Paulette MacDonald and I am a Family Law Reform Advocate in Canada and that came to be once I witnessed firsthand the devastation that occurs in the hands of our Family Law System. - And all I want for Christmas is a presumption of equal parenting at the onset of divorce or separation in the absence of abuse, neglect or violence. Tall order, I know but I’m confident together we can do it.

While I am extremely proud to be Canadian; I’m ashamed of our governments Family Law System, one that is profoundly broken and has been for decades - A System that was put in place to help families when they are most vulnerable going through divorce or separation and instead of helping them, it destroys them with its bias “winner-take-all” approach. According to Ontario’s former Chief Justice Warren Winkler, “family law is in a state of crisis. We see a system in disarray – one that is beyond tinkering and that needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up using new concepts and fresh ideas. In short, we see a need for fundamental change.”

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December 5, 2018 by Don Hubin, PhD, Member, National Board of Directors and Chair, National Parents Organization of Ohio

I like Saturday Night Live, even though I’m at an age when it would be more appropriate to call it “Saturday Night DVRed”. Sure, lots of sketches don’t work; some are complete flops; and some make you wonder how the writers ever thought they would be funny in the first place.

But, as they say, “if you’re serving all aces, you’re not serving hard enough”. Good comedy experiments and pushes boundaries; failure is part of the creative process. And, when the writers and comedians of SNL get it right, they can really nail it.

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

What looks like an excellent non-profit organization in Vermont has issued a report on the state’s child welfare system.  Predictably, the picture it paints isn’t pretty.  This is the first I’ve heard of the Vermont Parent Representation Center, but if its report is any indication, it’s a professionally-run group that produces quality work.

I’ll have more to say about the report later, but for now this article hits the high points (Vermont Digger, 11/26/18).  Writer Lola Duffort is to be commended on a thorough, fair and balanced piece.

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Please join us tonight on our Facebook page at 6 pm EST for an important shared parenting development! We can't say anymore right now but remember to set your alarm for 6 pm EST tonight, November 30!

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

When shared parenting bills come before state legislatures, members are usually faced with opposition from two groups – family lawyers and gender feminist groups.  As I’ve written many times, their arguments don’t make sense.  They recycle old, worn-out tropes, all of which have been debunked countless times.  The simple truth is that equal parenting is best for kids and good for both mothers and fathers as well.  Large amounts of social science demonstrate the fact and, faced with that, opponents arrive at the legislative battlefield unarmed.  Briefly, they have no argument on the merits to make.

But, since the issue before any given legislator is whether to vote for or against a shared parenting bill, there’s always another consideration – how will it affect him/her at the polls?  Now, we all know that elected officials would prefer to do the right thing in any given situation, not just about shared parenting.  But in the mental struggle between doing the right thing and getting re-elected, often enough, the latter prevails. 

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

The Washington Post is at it again (Washington Post, 11/26/18).  In a bid to further erode the institution of the family, the WaPo offers an article entitled “UN Finds Deadliest Place for Women is Their Home.”  The only problem with that headline is that the UN did no such thing.  Indeed, the intellectual distance between the headline and the UN study on which it pretends to report tends to produce vertigo in the reader.  It’s a complete misrepresentation.

What the UN study actually reports on is the number of women and girls killed each year in domestic violence incidents worldwide.  That number is about 50,000.  This being the UN, the number of men killed in DV incidents goes unmentioned.

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November 28, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

new study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science finds bias in judges’ rulings in child custody cases (Science Daily, 4/3/18).  Now, it’s worthwhile to note that this is a study, not of judicial behavior in the courtroom in actual cases, but in hypothetical ones.  Still, the methodology of the case suggests the pro-mother/anti-father bias we’ve come to know all too well.

The study was conducted by Andrea Miller, who’s an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  Miller accomplished one amazing thing; she got 500 state court judges to take part in the study.  They did so anonymously due to the fact that the results could be embarrassing for the state and the judiciary thereof.  So we don’t even know which state the study took place in.  Miller also received the participation of 500 lay people.

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

Canada is not poised to make meaningful change to its divorce and custody laws.  As I mentioned here, it’s poised only to make trivial changes to the wording of existing statutes.  And Barbara Kay isn’t happy about it (Post Millennial, 11/23/18).

Kay of course has for many years been a redoubtable champion of equal parenting, so, when the Canadian Parliament once again simply punts the issue, she’s right to complain.  So is everyone else in the country.  After all, as Kay points out, it’s now been 20 years since the task force specifically appointed to make recommendations for reform did so.  And in those 20 years, essentially nothing has been done.

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