Donald Hubin commentary: Shared parenting needs to be the goal

Posted on December 7, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce | Tags: , , |

 Dec. 5th, 2014           The Columbus Dispatch by Donald Hubin

Most people have a common-sense understanding that children are better off when both parents are fully involved in a child’s upbringing and care, but Ohio’s child-custody laws and court practices fail to recognize this obvious truth.

While Ohio isn’t the worst state in this regard, a recent study gives the state’s child-custody laws a C- when it comes to ensuring that both parents remain engaged with their children following divorce.

In a groundbreaking report published within the past month, National Parents Organization released its inaugural Shared Parenting Report Card, the nation’s first study to grade the states based on child-custody statutes. The report found that most states are performing poorly in terms of encouraging shared parenting and parental equality. The nation as a whole scored a 1.63 grade-point average, and Ohio is in the middle of the pack, receiving a C-.

These findings make it clear that Ohio legislators must act to raise the state’s grade for the benefit of our children, and legislators can get to work by addressing the fact that Ohio statutes:

• Contain no preference for or presumption of shared parenting.

• Do not explicitly provide for shared parenting during temporary orders.

• Do not mandate that a court award shared parenting even in a case where the court finds that the submitted shared parenting plan is in the best interest of the children.

• Have not been significantly revised in light of the 2001 recommendations of the task force set up by the Ohio legislature and the Ohio Supreme Court to recommend reforms to family law in Ohio.

The report’s examination of statutes in Ohio and elsewhere show it’s typical for one parent to be marginalized when parents separate. This happens routinely, even when both parents are fit and loving and want to be fully involved in their children’s lives. It happens because of obsolete laws and outdated assumptions about parents.

Is diminishing the role of one parent the unfortunate price we pay to promote the best interest of children? Some have thought so, but the evidence is against them. And the evidence is now overwhelming. Over the past three decades, there has been a growing consensus among social scientists that in the vast majority of cases, when parents separate, children are best off when their parents are equally involved.

Just this year, three different groups of child-development researchers and practitioners endorsed shared parenting in most circumstances. In one instance, a report by prominent psychologist Richard Warshak, titled “Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report” and published by the American Psychological Association, concluded that shared parenting should be the norm. The conclusions of this research were endorsed by 110 researchers and practitioners who added their names to the published paper — an extraordinary event in the social sciences.

Despite the weight of scientific evidence, shared parenting is in place just 17 percent of the time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There are many reasons why this harmful practice continues. Some judges seem not to have noticed that we are no longer living in theMad Men era, when mothers stayed at home with the children and fathers were relatively uninvolved in child rearing. Some parents see the decisions about raising their children after divorce as a contest where one parent wins and the other loses — losing sight of the fact that, in such a contest, children are the real losers. And our adversarial approach to divorce and custody disputes encourages this winner-take-all attitude. Some judges favor shared parenting in principle but will not order it unless both parents agree to it, thinking that if the parents cannot agree to shared parenting, they can’t cooperate under a shared parenting plan. However, the research proves this false.

While the causes of what some have described as ‘parent-ectomy’ are many, there is no doubt that legislatures share some of the responsibility. Across the country, and certainly in Ohio, legislators have a responsibility to make common-sense statutory changes that will better ensure that our children, regardless of whether their parents live together, experience a childhood filled with the love of both parents.

Donald Hubin, a professor emeritus at Ohio State University, is chairman of the Ohio Executive Committee and a member of the National Board of National Parents Organization and is one of the principal authors of the National Parents Organization 2014 Shared Parenting Report Card.

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Custody wars: ‘Shared parenting’ and divorce litigation across the 50 states

Posted on October 20, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation | Tags: , , |

MBRIDGE, Mass. — We’ve interviewed nearly 100 divorce litigators in different U.S. and international jurisdictions for a forthcoming book. We didn’t do this to educate ourselves about Measure 6, the Shared Parenting Initiative on the North Dakota ballot; but inadvertently, we’ve become experts on the practical effects of changes in divorce laws.

Broadly, states fall into three categories:

  1. 1.     Preserve the status quo
  2. 2.     Craft a new optimum
  3. 3.     Don’t take sides

 

  • North Dakota currently falls into the first category. The judge tries to figure out who was the “primary parent” during the marriage, then extends the financial terms of what had been a voluntary partnership out until the children are adults.

The parent identified as more important pre-lawsuit is awarded custody, and the parent who had been the breadwinner will be ordered to pay child support.

This approach is consistent with the best published psychology research of the 1950s. However, the academic psychologists have changed their minds. “A psychologist can’t walk into an intact family, do an assessment and determine which parent is better for which child at which age in that family,” said Linda Nielsen, professor of psychology at Wake Forest University.

“And it is the wrong question to ask, since the importance or effectiveness of each parent will go up and down as the child ages.”

In theory, the decision regarding which parent is to be primary is made after a Perry Mason-style trial with witnesses testifying and being cross-examined. In practice, as its typical nationwide, North Dakota judges make an “interim” decision at a 60-minute hearing shortly after a divorce lawsuit is filed — and that decision is likely to become permanent.

  •  The second category includes states that recognize parenting is going to be different following a divorce, so the court should “craft a new optimum.” The court may order the parents to assume unequal roles, but not because roles were unequal during the marriage.

This approach, followed by states such as Michigan and Missouri, sounds great in theory. But in practice, it leads to lots of arguments (at $1,000 per hour or more, considering everyone in the courtroom who is being paid) about what the new optimum should be; and no two judges are likely to agree on what is “optimum.”

“I could take the same facts and argument to five judges and get five different results,” was a common refrain.

  •  Alaska, Arizona, Colorado and Delaware are examples of the third approach: “Don’t take sides.” Either the Legislature or the court will require or strongly suggest that, absent an agreement between the parents, courts award 50/50 parenting.

Effects of Measure 6

Measure 6 would push North Dakota into the third category. Generally, lawyers nationwide say they think that roughly 50/50 shared parenting is best for children. They report that their clients with 50/50 parenting experience less conflict than clients with an every-other-weekend-and-Wednesday-night-dinner schedule.

Among other advantages, “you don’t have a father who is perpetually angry that he pays all of the bills and seldom sees the kids,” as several attorneys observed.

Attorneys and psychologists also report much greater involvement by fathers who had been awarded 50/50 parenting than ones who had been officially deemed “secondary.” “The best kind of parenting is called ‘authoritative parenting,’ as distinct from ‘permissive parenting,’ which is the worst,” Professor Nielsen noted.

“An authoritative parent sets rules and talks to children about important things. He is a child’s parent, not the child’s uncle. For this to be possible, the children must spend ample time with the father and have a full range of activities with him.

“When you cut the parenting time down to every other weekend, there’s not an opportunity to be an authoritative parent. It is not that the dad is a different person. He’s the same person with the same parenting skills, but in a restricted situation.”

Despite saying that 50/50 parenting is better for most children, most lawyers oppose a statutory 50/50 rule and prefer each child’s schedule to be a custom decision. One reason is that these attorneys don’t factor in the cost of legal fees. Maybe a 60/40 schedule is better for Johnny than a 50/50 schedule, but is he better off now that $200,000 has been drained from his college fund to pay for that fight?

One warning, North Dakota: About a third of Measure 6 is given over to an escape clause in the event of domestic violence. Alaska added such a clause to what had been a strict 50/50 system. What happened? “Either there has been an epidemic of abuse since this statute was amended, or a lot of women are lying,” said Pam Sullivan, a divorce litigator there.

“In about 25 percent of the cases now, the man is alleged to be a physical or sexual abuser.”

Lawyers all over the United States report that domestic violence allegations now are standard in custody fights, with up to 75 percent of divorce cases in some states now involving allegations of abuse.

Conclusions

To sum up what we learned from talking to attorneys: Uncertainty drives litigation. Parents like children. Parents like to make money off children.

The typical U.S. state generates a maximum amount of custody litigation by making it uncertain who will win a custody lawsuit and by awarding substantial cash profits, in addition to the enjoyment of time with the child, to the winner.

In Switzerland and Denmark, custody litigation is greatly reduced by a presumption that “Mom wins.” Legal fees in those countries tend to be less than 10 percent of what Americans pay for a divorce. But note that 50/50 shared parenting is common in Denmark, despite the “Mom wins” rule. Why? Child support awards in Denmark are limited to a range of $2,000 to $8,000 per year (compared to a maximum of $25,224 in North Dakota).

Jackie Stebbins, an attorney at Bliss & Stebbins in Bismarck, said “It’s hard for many of us [divorce litigators and judges] to admit that a lot of these custody battles are really about money, but they are.”

After a year of interviewing experts, what’s our expert advice for North Dakota voters? Don’t listen to experts! They aren’t the ones who have to live with the consequences of the law. Talk to adults whose childhood was the subject of custody litigation.

Among us five co-authors, it turns out that one is the child of divorced parents. Here’s her personal perspective: “I am a proponent of the 50/50 custody presumption. The current system forces the parent who does not receive custody too far to the sidelines. Also, Measure 6 should reduce the number of custody battles, which are always destructive.”

We’ve prepared a free excerpt from our forthcoming book for Herald readers. It includes our full North Dakota chapter. Visit tinyurl.com/gfhballot6.

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What ‘New’ Studies Say Is Best For Children Of Fractured Homes

Posted on October 7, 2014. Filed under: Shared Parenting | Tags: , , |

October 6th, 2014             The Federalist by Leslie Loftis

What is the best custody arrangement for children after divorce? Most of us outside of family lawyers and courts don’t think about that question until we are faced with it. And then adults tend to choose administrative stability, figuring the kids are as exhausted and spent as themselves. Children of divorce face such an upheaval that it makes sense to adults that the children need time to rest and recover, and so we prioritize routine.

Certainly our custody assumptions support this kind of stability. Typically, one parent gets primary custody, while the other gets Wednesday evenings, every other weekend, half the summer, and alternating holidays. This is so normalized that I was recently encouraged to host a women’s event on Wednesday night because that’s when the kids of divorce are with their dads. It is widespread and predictable.
But those custody norms are informed by old research. We have new research now. In fact, we have enough research that we have long-term studies of children of divorce and meta studies—studies of those studies, a few of which I covered here last summer.

Grant Children Their Rights, Too
What children want and what children need—what they see as stability—is open access to both parents. From a 2000 paper by William V. Fabricus and Jeffery Hall on young adult perspectives on living arrangements after a divorce, reporting on their follow-up in the late ’90s with children of divorce they had studied in the ’70s:

Earlier research on younger children’s perspectives on living arrangements has demonstrated that children desire free and frequent access to noncustodial parents. For example, Rosen (1979) found that 60% of children wanted unrestricted contact, regardless of whether the noncustodial parent was mother or father. Children repeatedly insisted that being able to see the noncustodial parents whenever they wished and being able to see that parent often made their parents’ divorces tolerable for them.

Kelly and Wallerstein (1977) reported that young children viewed the typical every-other-weekend visitation arrangement as severely inadequate. ‘The only younger children reasonably content with the visiting situation were those 7- and 8-year-olds visiting 2 or 3 times a week, most often by pedaling to their father’s apartment on a bicycle’ (p. 52).

…The perspectives of young children, although compelling, have not had much influence in public policy debates about custody and visitation. Young children’s feelings may be suspected of being relatively temporary, malleable, and ultimately not strongly connected to measurable outcomes. The public policy debate about custody and visitation has generally been framed in terms of parents’ (and, most recently, grandparents’) rights rather than children’s wishes (Mason, 1999). Thus, it is important that Wallerstein and Lewis (1998) have recently reported on the longitudinal follow-up of the perspectives of these children now that they are adults. Their report is based on a subsample of 25 respondents who were the youngest (now ages 27 to 32) in the longitudinal study.

Wallerstein and Lewis (1998) found that many of their respondents reported that their visitation schedules with their fathers had been too disruptive and too inflexible and that when this was true they got little enjoyment or benefit from visitation in the way of enhanced relationships with their fathers. As adults, they feel strongly now, as they did then, that their wishes should have been taken into account, and they remain angry and resentful that they were not.
But the children’s desires have had a hard time breaking through the conventional wisdom. Myths about single-adult attachment and simple routines persist. Considering the relative advantages for children of intact families, that children need both parents should not surprise us. Yet it does.

Historical and Practical Ruts
Divorce wasn’t commonplace until the 1970’s. Before then, social scientists studied orphaned children and mother and young child attachment. Mothers were the primary caregivers of children, so studying them first made sense. Then, when the divorce rate spiked, courts didn’t have other information to advise them about the best custody arrangements for children. They granted primary mother care based on the only available research and the prevailing cultural practice. Then social science started to study the effects of a fractured family or father absence.

Courts should grant shared custody to divorcing parents unless presented with clear and convincing evidence this arrangement is not in the best interest of the child.
After about four decades of such studies, we have another answer to “What is best for the children?” (Or really we find another example of being led astray by partial data that our common sense should have warned us to be wary of back in the ’70s.) Absent extenuating circumstances such as abuse, children want and children need open access to both parents.

Advocacy groups for children of fractured homes are opening all over the world trying to break though the old myths with the new studies. They typically seek a presumption of shared parenting rather than the current unstated presumption of primary maternal custody, which covers for an epidemic of familial alienation when the sole-custody parent restricts visitation by other family members.

Simply, courts should grant shared custody, roughly 60 to 40 percent splits of time, to divorcing parents unless presented with clear and convincing evidence that this arrangement is not in the best interest of the child. Abuse, addiction, instability—evidence of each could prompt the court to grant custody to one parent. The court would simply start from the idea that the child should have time with each parent.

The Opposition: Lawyers and Feminists
As simple and logical as that presumption sounds, the two main groups actively resistant to shared parenting make for powerful opposition: lawyers and, paradoxically, feminists. That lawyers oppose shared parenting makes sense. Shared parenting arrangements tend to reduce parental conflict and therefore the continued need for lawyers and their fees. (See generally, the myths link above, page 3 and studies cited in footnotes 16-21.) But feminists, a group often heard demanding more domestic participation from fathers and who we might expect to vehemently object to the old legal assumptions that expect the mother to provide primary care for children, their opposition to shared parenting makes no sense.

In other contexts, feminists complain about the cultural assumptions of childrearing putting an unfair burden on women, but when the law tries to redress that burden and demand that parents share in childrearing, then feminists object. Why? Since courts have overwhelmingly awarded primary custody to mothers in the past, feminists see shared parenting as part of the men’s rights movement. They object to shared parenting as men trying to usurp women’s power by trying to assume the parental responsibility women normally assume, as an attempt to lower child support payments, and as society failing to protect women from abusive men. A particularly tight contortion in reasoning from a recommendation of the National Association of Women and the Law in Canada, where a shared parenting law was defeated back in May:

In fact, as long as women remain the primary caregivers of children, women’s equality is in the best interests of children, and law reform can and must simultaneously take into account and promote both the best interests of children and the equality interests of women.
So while the assumptions about mother care hold, then the assumptions should be followed? I thought feminism was, partially, about breaking assumptions about women’s roles. (Pause here for a moment to ponder that although non-feminists keep getting lectured about how feminism isn’t anti-men, their actions suggest otherwise. They turn their own goals inside-out for simple spite.)

Playing to type, in the North Dakota political battle over the “new and improved” Measure 6, the only active vote for a presumption for shared parenting in this U.S. election cycle, the group running the opposition campaign is all lawyers plus a male pastor and a female domestic violence advocate—and they seem to be using State Bar resources to oppose the legislation. The group that sponsored the measure, however, isn’t the stereotypical men’s rights groups. That group is all women.

Shared parenting is about family.
There are many fathers’ rights groups who support shared parenting, of course, but that is only because fathers are usually the alienated parent. I’m a member of Leading Women for Shared Parenting and the stories we receive in that organization are overwhelmingly from women. Some are mothers who hardly see their children. Others are grandmothers and aunts who cannot see their grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, because their son or brother is denied access to his children. The heartache strains other family relationships, like the distraught father who avoids talking to his mother so he can keep his angst from overflowing or the mortified sister who inadvertently posted a FB link that upset the alienating parent and ended the little contact her brother had with his children.

Shared parenting isn’t about fathers’ rights. It isn’t even just about children’s rights, although their hurts are certainly the deepest because they last a lifetime. Shared parenting is about family. Divorce is hard enough, severing the family’s spirit. Physically splitting the family as a matter of course means those spiritual wounds cannot heal for anyone, especially the children.

It is time to stop playing money and politics over children from fractured homes. They have enough to deal with. We should do what is best for them. And the four decades of studies really just tell us what we intuitively know: Children need their parents—both of them.

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Mitchell Sanderson: Shared Parenting Measure Opposed With The Same Old Lies

Posted on October 7, 2014. Filed under: North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative | Tags: |

September 26th, 2014 by Mitchell Sanders

This is what the current family law system has created and what Measure #6 is trying to stop:

From a HHS Press Release, Friday, March 26, 1999:

“More than a quarter of American children—nearly 17 million—do not live with their father. Girls without a father in their life are two and a half times as likely to get pregnant and 53 percent more likely to commit suicide. Boys without a father in their life are 63 percent more likely to run away and 37 percent more likely to abuse drugs. Both girls and boys are twice as likely to drop out of high school, twice as likely to end up in jail and nearly four times as likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.”

It is painfully clear the dangers of sole custody are not worth the risks to our children. Shared parenting is a no-brainer! Let’s produce a system that actually works. Research shows Shared Parenting reduces conflict, helps parents cooperate for the sake of the children, children do better in their every day life and their adult life, shared parenting does not reduce material and financial support for the children, it does reduce re-litigation costs and it most closely resembles an intact family.

Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.

Children who have lived through their parents’ divorces and have now entered young adulthood (and college) have given us their ‘expert’ advice. Seventy percent of them, men and women alike, believe that living equal amounts of time with each parent is the best arrangement for children.

Research supports the conclusion that joint custody is associated with certain favorable outcomes for children including father involvement, best interest of the child for adjustment outcomes, child support, reduced re-litigation costs, and sometimes reduced parental conflict.

The US Supreme Court has ruled that there is a presumption that fit parents act in their children’s best interests, there is normally no reason for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question fit parents’ ability to make the best decisions regarding their children, the U.S. Supreme Court regards parental rights as fundamental and protected by the First, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments. So why would any attorney appose Shared Parenting?

Please do not fall for the misinformation being put forth by the opposition to measure 6. These people profit from family law and all they are trying to do is deceive you on the idea that kids being with both parents is bad. When two people are married with kids the government does not tell them how much time their kids can be with them so why in a divorce should the government have any say unless a parent is proven unfit.

The opposition is the same old foes telling the same old lies. Unethical attorneys profit from keeping parents fighting and are hurting the future of North Dakota, our children!

Please vote YES on Measure 6!

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Noncustodial fathers protest unrealistic, unfair payments

Posted on September 5, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, fathers, Shared Parenting | Tags: , , , |

August 15th, 2014  Andrew Ozaki

LINCOLN, Neb. —His service to his country took away his leg, and now former Army Sgt. Ben Marksmeier said the state’s child custody and support laws are taking away his son.

“The only thing I was thinking about was my son, my unborn child, and then I come back only to have him ripped out of my life,” said Marksmeier.

Marksmeier and other noncustodial fathers told their emotional stories to a special commission looking into revising the state’s child support guidelines.

“I currently only see my child for four hours a month. Four hours,” said Marksmeier.

Legal Aid, an Omaha nonprofit organization, said payments for some parents are unrealistically high and don’t change or are slow to change if the person loses their job or their financial status changes. It places them in a rut they can’t climb out of.

“They are incredibly broken and ashamed. And when they are broken and ashamed, it interferes with their relationships with their children,” said Muirne Heaney, an attorney for Legal Aid.

Noncustodial parents in Nebraska rank in the top 10 in paying child support but still owe $70 million in back payments. Child welfare advocates say their only concern is to make sure the basic needs of every child is met. Even those who can afford the payments said it’s about equal parenting time, though.

“If there were a way to trade money for time, believe me, I would be the first in that line,” said Eddy Santamaria, a noncustodial father.

The chair of the commission, Brad Ashford, agrees changes need to be made to allow more equal time for both parents.

“Let’s make sure the child support piece is right as well, so that when we think about equal parenting — the child support guidelines reflect the reality of daily life,” said Ashford.

That’s what Marksmeier and others are asking for.

“Fix this, so dads can be dads,” said Santamaria.

Read more: http://www.ketv.com/news/noncustodial-fathers-protest-unrealistic-unfair-payments/27516322#ixzz3CRWigK90

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How Splitting Up Made Us Better Parents

Posted on September 5, 2014. Filed under: Divorce | Tags: , , |

8/19/2014 by Jessica Woodbury (Huffington Post)

My husband and I both come from families with parents who’ve been married for decades. Deciding to separate and then to divorce meant taking our children into a world we’d never experienced ourselves. More than anything else, we’ve both worried about them and how this will affect their lives.

The funny thing is that it hasn’t turned into the giant fiasco you might expect. It helps that our kids are still young and don’t think to ask us why. But what’s helped the most is that taking this step has made us into more involved and more centered parents, even if we’re no longer parenting together.

1. More Me Time. Before, I had a husband who worked long hours and no support system. I was more than a primary parent, I was a 99 percent parent. Splitting up and setting up a custody schedule has us both carving out just-for-kids time and just-for-me time. Now that I have Friday nights to myself I have the break I always craved as a stay-at-home parent.

I get three nights a week of undisturbed sleep. There are no errands to run. I can meet a friend for brunch without having to line up a sitter or order a kids meal for a small companion. Last week I even got a pedicure in the middle of the day just because I could. I pick the movies and the TV shows I watch. I can lay in bed and read all day.

It’s actually an adjustment to learn to live with a couple of days of open time. You can start up old hobbies. You can connect with friends.

But best of all, when you see your kids again a couple of days later, they are more beautiful and more precious than they were at the end of a long week. My energy is renewed, my patience is restored, and we’re all ready to enjoy each other.

2. Less Stress. I do all my parenting alone now, which is harder in a lot of ways. I won’t say it’s easy. Sometimes I don’t get to eat my own dinner until 10:00 p.m. But getting through those difficult hours after school and before bed are not so tough when you’re not already on edge.

I hadn’t realized just how much my misery in my marriage was weighing on me. There was always the question of when my husband would get home, what mood he’d be in, how we’d manage dinner, how we’d wade through the evening’s battles with the kids. If my husband was home, instead of managing something myself I would feel resentful if he wasn’t there to immediately step in and assist. I was causing a lot of my own pain and frustration.

Taking that out of the equation means a lot. After the kids go to bed I don’t have to deal with any anger or resentment at my spouse. I don’t have to face stony silences. We don’t avoid each other. There are no fights. It’s just a quiet evening for me to relax or clean up or take a bath. And it’s weird how much easier it is to get through a rough evening solo.

3. More Working Together. Now that there isn’t all this extra baggage of our own arguments and grudges, parenting together is a lot easier. We can talk about it clinically instead of getting upset in the heat of the moment. We can email back and forth. There aren’t any spontaneous blow ups. There isn’t any finger pointing or blaming.

If I notice the pack of diapers he bought isn’t the right size, I can just include a note about it in a weekly email about what’s going on, what the state of the laundry is, how they’ve been sleeping, etc. It’s a lot less loaded than the conversation would be if we had it together at the end of an exhausting day.

We’ve started to talk about disciplining strategies for our 5-year-old. We’re setting out a short list of rules we can consistently follow with consequences we’ve agreed upon. Dealing with these big issues has never been so easy.

Parenting alone may not be ideal but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Right now, I’m still working on finding my single parent mojo, but it’s not nearly as scary as I thought it would be.

This post originally appeared on Scary Mommy. See more of Jessica’s essays on Parenting & Divorce with Young Children.

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Leading Women for Shared Parenting

Posted on August 13, 2013. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation | Tags: , , , , |

Leading Women for Shared Parenting was founded to dispel the widespread myth that it is only – or even mainly – disgruntled fathers with limited access to their children who promote equal shared parenting as the default model for separating parents.

That is simply not the truth.

Polls in the United States, Canada and other western countries consistently demonstrate overwhelming support in the general population for equally shared parenting. Both fair-minded men and women across all social and cultural lines understand that mothers and fathers are equally important in the lives of their children.

For some years a number of prominent women in media and politics have been championing this issue in the public forum of ideas and in policy-making circles. Eventually they sought a common platform from which they could bring their support for equal shared parenting to effective attention and positive legislative action.

Thus LW4SP came into being, with more than 150 influential women lending their names in support of the equal shared parenting principle.

LW4SP is made of up Leading Woman from all walks of life including prominent authors, activists, researchers, academics, advocates, domestic violence experts, columnists, therapists, legislators, attorneys, PTA Presidents and more. Most importantly however, LW4SP has a highly engaged membership, comprised of over two-thirds Women, who are determined to change Family Law in the most crucial way; to benefit the well-being of Children. Our organization is assisted by a group of passionate volunteers whose tireless efforts make all the difference.

Click on the link below to listen to Jill Egizii (of Family Matters) talk with 4 women who are involved with Leading Women for Shared Parenting (LW4SP). These 4 women share their stories about why they got involved with LW4SP.

leading-women-for-shared-parenting

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