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June 24, 2015

NPO Logo National Parents Organization improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting every child's right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.
Fathers’ Day Media Messages: A Sea-Change from Past Years
Father with Child
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Every year, equal parenting advocates anticipate Fathers’ Day with a mixture of joy and alarm. The joy of course is because fathers across the country are acknowledged and valued for what they are — one of the two most important people in their children’s lives and vital to their well-being. The alarm comes from the sad fact that, every year, there are some who seize on Fathers’ Day as an excuse to denigrate fathers even more than usual.

But this year, in keeping with what I see as a cultural sea-change in attitudes about fathers and shared parenting, the anti-dad crowd was mostly silent. Indeed, compared to previous years, it was almost non-existent. The number of anti-father messages was vanishingly small. Yes, Angel Soft toilet paper ran an ad pointedly extolling single mothers, making clear the attitude that fathers don’t matter. And of course the feminist site Jezebel took the opportunity to refer to your dad as a “Piece of Sh*t.” Classy, very classy. And the New York Times mostly restricted Fathers’ Day messages to shopping tips, carefully avoiding ideas of any greater depth or importance. Read more...

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The National Parents Organization Leads Media Charge
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
And on that note, National Parents Organization was cited and NPO advocates published Fathers’ Day articles in some 18 different publications nationwide. Here’s the list:

Shared-Parenting Movement Gaining Momentum in 2015
06.18.15, Huffington Post highlights National Parents Organization’s Shared Parenting Report Card

Shared-Parenting Movement Gaining Momentum in 2015
06.18.15, eWallstreeter highlights National Parents Organization’s Shared Parenting Report Card Read more...

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Women Against Paternity Fraud Calls for Action on Paternity Establishment
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The organization Women Against Paternity Fraud has this fine article calling for changes in how paternity is established, particularly in Title IV-D cases. They’re the ones in which a single mother has received federal welfare benefits and for which the child’s father is required by law to reimburse the state. One major problem with that is that there’s no requirement anywhere that the mother identify the correct man as the father. So we see many cases in which a man who’s not the father is identified and required to repay the government and continue paying to support the child. Meanwhile, the actual father pays nothing and likely has no idea he even has a child.

I’ve blogged many times about how little sense that makes. Effectively, it puts the onus on the man identified by the mother to disprove paternity. That can be done if he appears in court, but, as the article points out, in Los Angeles County for example, some 80% of Title IV-D paternity establishments are finalized via default judgments. That means the man wasn’t there to contest the matter. Read more...

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Alienating Mother Comes to Her Senses — or Not
June 22, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Not long ago I wrote a piece about a woman named Jennifer Fink. She recounted how she’d fought her ex for sole custody of their son, but the Wisconsin family court, seeing nothing wrong with the boy’s father, ordered equally shared parenting. Fink’s whole point was that she’d been wrong to want her ex out of their son’s life and the court had been right to force her into accepting a shared parenting arrangement. Fink pronounced herself “so, so glad” at the outcome because she could see how valuable both parents are to children. Read more...

Public Climb-Down or Business as Usual in Meitiv Case?
June 21, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
By being good parents and determined to stick to their guns, Alexander and Danielle Meitiv have forced Montgomery County, MD Child Protective Services to make sensible changes to how they handle allegations of neglect. Read about it here (Washington Post, 6/11/15). Or have they? Read more...

New Georgia Law Requires Genetic Testing in All Title IV-D Cases
June 19, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Finally! The State of Georgia has taken a simple and obvious step toward sanity in its system of child support enforcement. House Bill 568 that becomes law on July 1, requires the state’s child support enforcement authority to genetically test any man named as the father in a Title IV-D case. Read about it here (Florida Times-Union, 6/17/15). Those of course are cases in which the mother has received benefits under Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. When that happens, the mothers are then required to name a man as father. That man is then required to reimburse the state for whatever was paid to the mother. Read more...

Edin: Even the Most Marginal Dads ‘Linking Love and Provision’ for Their Children
June 19, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

“The child support system weakens the child/father bond by separating the act of love from the act of providing.”

That’s a quotation from Johns Hopkins scholar, sociologist Kathryn Edin that we find in this article (Time, 6/15/15). Edin or course is one of the best and most dogged of academics to look dispassionately at very marginal fathers in the context of childcare and child support. Her findings invariably skewer the pop culture’s narrative of the “deadbeat dad.” And so it is with her most recent research that’s the main focus of the Time Magazine piece. Read more...

Harding/Newnham Study Ignores Own Findings, Bad Methodology
June 18, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Continued from yesterday.

The third and most damning criticism is the study’s selection bias.

The authors looked at cases in which a father, a mother or both had asked the court to issue an order of some sort. In so doing, the authors’ sample consisted of fathers who, for one reason or another, thought they had a chance to be granted the order they sought. That suggests the researchers have a sampling error. And sure enough they do. The fathers studied don’t represent fathers in family courts generally, but instead those who thought they could win. Read more...

UK Study of Parenting Orders not Representative; Article Suggests It Is
June 17, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
This continues my previous post on the British study that purports to find no discrimination against fathers in such family court matters as custody, parenting time, contact and the like. I linked to Glen Poole’s response which was a thoroughgoing take down of the claims made by the study’s author, Professor Maebh Harding of the University of Warwick. Harding’s description of the study’s findings include assertions that fathers’ applications are “overwhelmingly successful.” To that Poole points out that fewer than half of fathers are permitted to have overnight contact with their children. He went on to say that, the only way that can be considered “success” is if the culture hugely devalues fathers, a point I’d call uncontestable. Read more...

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