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A Personal Message from Ned Holstein

National Parents Organization has launched a nationwide search for a new, full time, professional Executive Director! Having an experienced, accomplished, full time, well-paid Executive Director will vastly improve our strength and effectiveness. If you like NPO now, wait til you see 2018!

At considerable expense, we have contracted with a major national executive search firm in New York City that specializes in non-profits. Known as DRG, they have successfully placed high executives ranging from non-profits smaller than ours to behemoths. DRG has thousands of nationwide contacts they can tap to locate good candidates. And they are experienced in how to use social media for maximum effectiveness in recruiting.

We hope to have chosen a candidate and reached an agreement with her/him by the end of January, 2018 We are excited that the Search Consultant we will work with at DRG already understands the family law issues and does not need an education in these matters.

We will be offering a substantial salary, because NPO’s success will hinge on the quality of the Executive Director we are able to attract. Candidates will be able to stay where they currently live, if they so desire. Our key people are already distributed around the country, and we work from a “virtual office.” With growth, we may need to establish a central office, but that is for the future.

Since I work without compensation, this change will cause a substantial increase in our expenses. So we do need you to continue and to even increase the gifts you have made to support this organization.

Imagine: many more media appearances; much more social media action; many more interactions with thought leaders in the areas of family court, child development and justice; much more lobbying; many more online and in-person campaigns; many more state affiliates getting much more support from the national organization; many more meetings and rallies; in short, much more of everything!

That is, much more of everything if you support us, which you can do by clicking here.

If you are interested to learn about this position, click here to see the job posting that has already gone out through multiple platforms. If you are personally interested in the position, please note that you should reply to our Search Consultant, Sara Lundberg, not to me.

Which brings up a personal note. I have been running National Parents Organization off and on since 1998 --- with lots of help from many others. During these years, we have also had Dan Hogan, Glenn Sacks and Rita Fuerst Adams as Executive Directors for many of those years. Now we are taking a major step upwards towards more highly paid, experienced and professional non-profit leadership. The time is ripe for renewal, new blood, and change.

I will continue on the Board of Directors for at least one year, to ensure continuity and success with our new Executive Director. I will also lead a few specific projects, with the agreement of the new leader. So you can be sure there will be continuity, effectiveness and dynamism at the top.

We ain’t seen nothing yet!

Looking forward with excitement to the next chapter…

Together with you in the love of our children,

Ned Holstein

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November 24, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The next time you hear someone pontificate that child support is “for the children,” remember this (Patch, 11/22/17).

And while you’re thinking about child support, think also about what brings it about, i.e. divorce. And while you’re thinking about divorce, don’t forget where that takes place, i.e. divorce court. Do all that because the case of Thomas Doheny is one of capital punishment by divorce court.

Do I overstate the matter? Judge for yourself.

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November 23, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

In Canada, the Nanos polling and research organization has come out with a new survey of the level of support for equal parenting. We’ve seen this before. In years past, both Nanos and others have polled Canadians on equal parenting and the results remain pretty constant at about 70% support. That’s what the most recent poll showed. (A recent poll in Michigan found an astounding 84% of people supporting shared parenting, and 64% doing so strongly.)

Nanos asked 1,000 Canadians across the country this question: “Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose federal and provincial legislation to create a presumption of equal parenting in child custody cases?”

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November 22, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Is the Lansing State Journal taking a stand in favor of shared parenting? It published NPO’s Linda Wright’s fine piece supporting HB 4691 that would create a presumption of shared parenting. Now it’s published this one by Karl Dersch who, like Wright, nails the issues (Lansing State Journal, 11/19/17).

Best of all, Dersch goes beyond the many benefits of shared parenting to the family members involved in a divorce and points out the positive impact shared parenting would have on society at large. As I’ve said many times, an array of social ills is associated with fatherlessness and yet family courts routinely remove fathers from meaningful roles in their children’s lives. That’s bad for kids, bad for mothers, bad for fathers and bad for society generally. Dersch gets it.

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November 20, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Last week, I posted two pieces rebutting the scandalously inaccurate and nakedly self-interested claims by Michigan attorney John F. Schaefer. One of his most blatantly misleading claims he was that the system of sole/primary parenting post-divorce is backed up by “solid research.” So I emailed Schaefer asking for links to the said research. It’s been five days now and, to no one’s surprise, Schaefer hasn’t responded, much less produced the, er, “solid research.”

That serves as a lead-in to this excellent article by NPO’s Linda Wright regarding the same legislation, Michigan House Bill 4691 (Lansing State Journal, 11/19/17). Of course that’s the same bill Schaefer wrote about, even though his representation of it bore almost no resemblance to the actual bill. Wright hits all the high spots about shared parenting and HB 4691, but perhaps most important is this:

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November 19, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Are Nebraska courts getting soft? By ‘soft’ I mean more amenable to shared parenting. Has someone convinced them that shared parenting is actually best for kids? Is such a thing possible?

The reason I ask is the case of Berndt vs. Berndt issued by an appellate court on November 14th. It’s a simple case that, I strongly suspect, would have turned out differently just two or three years ago. I may be reading between the lines too much, but still, that’s my suspicion.

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November 17, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This continues from yesterday’s post.

At this point, it’s appropriate to thank John Schaefer for one thing (Detroit News, 11/13/17). His article is a mess of misrepresentations about what he does know and errors about things he doesn’t, like the science on shared parenting. But fair is fair and Schaefer deserves thanks.

That’s not because of his words, but because of his photo. The image he provided to the Detroit News fairly shouts “wealthy and prosperous!” Schaefer, in his tailored dark blue suit, bright white shirt and hankie and silk necktie, is the very picture of the well-heeled divorce lawyer. As such, his photo tells readers what his words do not – that divorce law can be very, very lucrative. So, for all the dishonesty of his words, his picture speaks the truth.

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November 16, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

If there’s a shared parenting bill before a state legislature, there must be at least one family lawyer ready and willing to misrepresent it to whoever will listen. And sure enough, there’s a strong shared parenting bill with lots of support in the Michigan Legislature and divorce attorney John Schaefer to oppose it on specious grounds (Detroit News, 11/13/17).

As seems to be invariably the case when family lawyers oppose a shared parenting bill, there are two possibilities – either Schaefer has read HB 4691 or he hasn’t. If he hasn’t, he should have, because writing an op-ed on a subject about which one is ignorant does a disservice to readers. If he has read the bill, he’s intentionally misrepresenting it, an even more serious indictment of him and his article.

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November 15, 2017 by Linda Reutzel, Chair, National Parents Organization of Missouri

Many people in Missouri were very excited about passing Family Court reforms in 2016 with House Bill 1550. Many especially like the statute change that would "maximize to the highest degree the amount of time a child may spend with each parent". Also HB 1550 got rid of default parenting plans that restricted the children's access to their father to one night during the week and every other weekend, and now no court, in the entire state, can have a default parenting plan.

Since our initial excitement we have had ups and downs. First, two days after the new law went into effect, the Missouri Eastern District Appellate Court actually mentioned the new law and made some very interesting observations about it. In this case, Morgan v. Morgan, the judge said that the traditional "siegenthaler" schedule of one day a week and every other weekend was not considered joint physical custody. The parenting time allowed by this schedule was not significant. I, along with hundreds upon hundreds of Missourians that I speak with, agree with this. But then throughout this past year I have heard from many fathers that say judges are still not giving 50/50, so their lawyers tell them to settle for less and many are actually still getting the default schedule.

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November 13, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

For reasons I can only guess at, this article paints a very anodyne picture of child protective services in the U.K (Phys.org, 11/7/17). Its primary and, as far as I can tell only objection is the portrayal of caseworkers in the popular media. It offers but two examples, one from the news and one from pop culture.

The piece’s message is roughly this:

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November 12, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The Australian government has begun its assessment of the family law system there, particularly as it relates to divorce and child custody. Given Australia’s news media that rarely miss an opportunity to denigrate fathers and call into question even the most modest moves toward parental equality, that’s cause for alarm. Much needs to change there, but few advocates for equal parenting are optimistic about the outcome in the current political climate.

So, all in all, this article looks like cause for hope (The Australian, 11/11/17). That’s true despite its astonishingly false first clause and what looks at the outset like more of the usual “men are dangerous and courts treat them too leniently” nonsense we see all too often. Here’s that first clause.

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November 10, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

On the heels of James Taranto’s article in the Wall Street Journal about which I wrote here and here, comes this (Peace Quarters, 10/26/17). Taranto’s entire piece simply channeled psychoanalyst Erica Komisar whose astonishing ignorance about the science of fatherhood and fathers’ relationships with their children she made no secret of. In a nutshell, Komisar’s belief is that, particularly in the first years of a child’s life, fathers simply aren’t terribly important and mothers are.

I naturally pointed out that countless reputable studies of parenting and children’s welfare demonstrate their deep-seated need for both parents, not just one. How, at this late date, a mental health professional managed to conclude otherwise, baffles me. How Taranto swallowed the bait Komisar was dangling is beyond me as well.

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November 9, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Back in 2014, I posted several pieces on the State Bar Association of North Dakota’s frank opposition to Measure 6 that was on the ballot that November. Measure 6 would have established a presumption of equal parenting for fit, nonviolent parents post-divorce. In violation of well-established constitutional law, SBAND spent some $70,000 to defeat the measure. It was sued by a member and settled, but had accomplished the main goal of defeating shared parenting.

As I’ve said before, lawyers, particularly family lawyers, have a strong aversion to shared parenting because a presumption of equality tends to reduce conflict between parents. Each parent knows at the outset of a divorce that he/she will come out of it seeing their children half the time, so neither will lose contact with their kids. At a stroke, that removes most of the impetus to fight.

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November 8, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Leading Women for Shared Parenting has done it again. Back in August, I posted a piece on research the organization had done into custody outcomes in North Dakota from January 1, 2011 to September 11, 2017. That revealed some astonishing things. For example, in a state that’s among the most demographically homogeneous in the nation, whether a father gets primary or shared custody of his children post-divorce apparently depends not on his qualifications, but upon which county the case is heard in.

As I said then,

Between, for example, Grand Forks and Morton Counties, there’s a whopping 100% differential in rates of shared parenting (28% and 56% respectively).

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November 6, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Here’s a good article (The Federalist, 11/3/17). It’s by Glenn Stanton and is all about marriage and the countless ways in which marriage benefits married adults, their children and society. The data are essentially all on the side of marriage and against unmarried parenting. Those data have been accumulating for over 40 years and overwhelm any notion that unmarried childbearing is, in the timeless phrase, “just another lifestyle choice.”

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November 5, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Much like Anne-Marie Slaughter before them, James Taranto and his sole source, psychoanalyst Erica Komisar, are so eager to push their thesis on readers that they ignore science that contradicts it (Wall Street Journal, 10/27/17). For Komisar, and therefore Taranto, science tells us that, for at least the first three years of a baby’s life, mothers – but not fathers – are necessary.

 “[M]others are biologically necessary for babies,” and not only for the obvious reasons of pregnancy and birth. “Babies are much more neurologically fragile than we’ve ever understood,” Ms. Komisar says. She cites the view of one neuroscientist, Nim Tottenham of Columbia University, “that babies are born without a central nervous system” and “mothers are the central nervous system to babies,” especially for the first nine months after birth.

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November 3, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Hard on the heels of Anne-Marie Slaughter’s not-up-to-snuff article in Time on which I posted the last two days, comes this piece by James Taranto that, in its own way, is every bit as bad (Wall Street Journal, 10/27/17). To be fair though, I suppose I have to grit my teeth and admit that he and his main source, psychoanalyst Erica Komisar do get a few things right.

The main point of the article is that mothers should spend the first three years of a child’s life with the child full-time. That is, they should prioritize child-rearing over paid employment. I agree that children should spend as much time with one or both parents as possible for as long as possible, but particularly in the first years of life. Needless to say, Taranto’s claim that children spending that time with Dad isn’t as good as with Mom, isn’t supported by science and some science contradicts it.

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November 2, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

As I said in yesterday’s post, Anne-Marie Slaughter chose the issue of gender equality and male and female sex roles as her topic, but doesn’t know the basics about it(Time). Her statement that women’s bodies produce oxytocin when caring for children, but men’s don’t is just flat wrong. Her statement that only about 5% of mammal species are bi-parental is correct, but she failed to mention that humans are one of those 5%. And her claim that the biology of sex differences is “controversial” is just downright loony. No, biology isn’t controversial, it just is. The controversy stems, not from science, but from the claim that sex differences are strictly a matter of socialization. That’s never been true, despite claims to the contrary that have polluted public discourse since at least the 70s.

Still, that’s Slaughter’s basic assumption. From start to finish her thesis is that women are socialized to be mothers and to assume they know best about that parenting. So her message to mothers is that they should “let go” of that idea and let fathers be the fathers they naturally are. After all, if doing so is nothing but a process of realizing one’s social conditioning and consciously setting it aside, then why not?

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November 1, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Why is it that every time Anne-Marie Slaughter writes a piece for a mainstream publication, she feels compelled to tell us at every turn what “we need” to do (Time)? And why is it that, having thus instructed us, she never explains why “we need” to do the things she says? It’s an irritating habit of hers, but far more so is the fact that she simply fails to grasp even basic information about her chose topic, that invariably being gender equality.

Now, to be fair, what she does grasp is what former NOW president, Karen DeCrow understood back in the early 80s, that, in order for women to gain power in the workplace, they must cede power at home. No person, woman or man, can “have it all,” if by that we mean a hugely successful career and being a stay-at-home parent. No one has the time or the energy to accomplish both.

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October 30, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Yesterday’s post was about the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s order to the state’s child protective agency to hold two separate court hearings before taking a child into state care. The Court did so because the Department of Children and Families too readily takes children from their parents. The case in question involved parents whose “abuse and neglect” of their child consisted solely of a messy house and the odor of pot in the air.

As I’ve said many times, CPS agencies across the country are well-known for too easily taking children from their parents. That has at least something to do with federal law, including the misnamed Adoption and Safe Families Act, that offers states financial incentives to do so.

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October 29, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

On October 20, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts issued a sharp reprimand to the state’s child protective agency (Boston Herald, 10/21/17).

The state’s high court is slapping strict limits on child welfare workers who yank kids from their parents too quickly, stating in a sweeping ruling that investigators must make reasonable efforts to keep families together.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that before a child is seized by the state, a judge must twice determine whether the Department of Children and Families made reasonable efforts to keep kids with their natural parents. The first determination is at an initial hearing, and the second happens 72 hours later.

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Recently, two National Parents Organization stalwarts, Don Hubin and Matt Hale, penned an op-ed on the need for family court reform and shared parenting in Ohio.  Shortly after its publication, Judge John Quinn of Ohio’s Summit County weighed in with a remarkably ill-informed and misleading article opposing both.  The following is Don Hubin’s rejoinder to Quinn’s piece.  He links to both his and Hale’s original op-ed and Quinn’s response.

October 27, 2017 by Donald C. Hubin, Ph.D., Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization and Chair of the Ohio Chapter of NPO

How many married Ohio parents care for their children only each Wednesday from 5:30 to 8:00 pm and every other weekend? Not many! But many Ohio domestic relations judges seem to think that a parenting schedule like this does a fine job of continuing the parent child relationship when parents separate.

We at the National Parents Organization believe that outdated child custody laws like those in Ohio harm children and parents and that they encourage costly and needless litigation between fit and loving parents (https://www.ohio.com/akron/editorial/commentary/donald-c-hubin-and-matt-hale-how-ohio-makes-divorce-worse). Summit County domestic relations judge John Quinn, says they do not (https://www.ohio.com/akron/editorial/commentary/john-p-quinn-ohio-does-have-shared-parenting).

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October 26, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

I’ve written a fair amount about the horrible conditions that exist for fathers and their children in Israeli family courts. There, the Tender Years Doctrine reigns and, even after a child passes its sixth birthday, fathers encounter all but insurmountable obstacles to having meaningful time with their kids. Israeli advocates for reform of family courts consistently find themselves stonewalled by feminists in the Knesset who oppose anything that would even marginally improve the lot of fathers and children. Indeed, just last week I posted a piece on a Knesset hearing on family courts to which no fathers’ rights organizations were invited by the feminist chair of the committee.

So I suppose it comes as no surprise that another feminist MK, Merav Michaeli, declared traditional families to be “the least safe place for children.” This article by Carolina Landsmann takes down Michaeli and her patently untrue claims effectively enough, but even so treats her far too kindly (Haaretz, 10/19/17).

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Ohio NPO Members and Allies,

The Judiciary Committee of the Ohio Senate has delayed the vote on SB 125, the new child support bill that NPO is opposing in its current form. While SB 125 makes some good changes in Ohio law, it handles shared parenting cases very poorly and, so, NPO opposes it in its current form.

The vote was delayed because the bill's sponsor, Senator Beagle, is considering whether to endorse amendments to the bill. The bill will be back on the Judiciary Committee's agenda for a vote next Tuesday, October 31. This means that we have a very narrow window to influence what the Committee votes on.

As background, I'm providing links to some documents below. However, what we need to do now is very simple. Call or write to Senator Beagle's office and tell him simply that you urge him to incorporate the NPO amendments into the bill and that if the bill is not modified in that way, you will urge your senator to oppose the bill when it comes to the floor.

You don't have to say more. What is important is the count that the Senator's aides will certainly give him about the responses they've received. Our goal is to show the Senator that there are a lot of constituents who care about this issue and support the NPO-recommended amendments to SB 125.
Here are some documents that will provide useful information on SB 125. But, it is not necessary to review these documents in order to make your voice heard. Two minutes to make a call or send a quick email through his website is all that it takes.
This is important! If we fight, we win. If we stay silent, we lose. 

With love for our children,

Donald C. Hubin, Ph.D.
Ohio Chair of the Executive Committee
Member, NPO Board of Directors

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