NOW’s Stand on Shared Parenting
SECTION SIX – VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT AGAINST WOMEN AND OTHER VULNERABLE POPULATIONS
This is one of the questions the National Organization for Women (NOW) included in their candidate questionnaire. One of our members is running for a state representative seat and he brought it to our attention. Of course, Fathers and Families has known that NOW, 500,000 members strong, and other women’s organizations have long opposed shared parenting.
The 1998 Custody Presumption Act states that evidence of a pattern or serious incident of abuse should create a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interests of the child to be placed in custody of the abusive parent. Judges are to weigh the “best interest of the child” in any custody proceeding.
Will you oppose legislation or other proposals to challenge the Custody Presumption Act and/or overturn the “best interests” standard in favor of a so-called “shared parenting” standard in child custody cases?
If not, please explain:
It seems inconsistent that the group that says its purpose is “sharing equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities with men,” opposes shared parenting. On its website, NOW states:
NOW is the largest, most comprehensive feminist advocacy group in the United States. Our purpose is to take action to bring women into full participation in society — sharing equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities with men, while living free from discrimination.
Gloria Woods, President of Michigan NOW, wrote this about shared parenting:
"Shared Parental Responsibility." In our work as women's advocates, how often have we heard custodial moms wish that their children's father would share the parental responsibility? Unfortunately, "shared parental responsibility" is the new doublespeak for joint physical custody by so-called "father's rights" groups.
At least Woods is honest enough to include the real concern about shared parenting – child support:
Michigan NOW opposes forced joint custody for many reasons: it is unworkable for uncooperative parents; it is dangerous for women and their children who are trying to leave or have left violent husbands/fathers; it ignores the diverse, complicated needs of divorced families; and it is likely to have serious, unintended consequences on child support.
All of these objections have been answered numerous times, most recently by Edward Kruk, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of British Columbia in his “Sixteen Arguments In Support of Shared Parenting.”
The legislature's determination to impose joint custody on parents in conflict is a frightening proposition for many women and places them and their children in harm's way.
Kruk specializes in child and family policy. As a child and family social worker in Canada and the United Kingdom, he has practiced in the fields of welfare rights, child protection, school social work, hospital social work, and family services. He is currently teaching and practicing in the areas of family mediation and addiction. He the author of many books including Divorced Fathers: Children's Needs and Parental Responsibilities; and Patterns of Fatherhood Within and Beyond Marriage.
According to Kruk:
Our current system of resolving child custody disputes rarely considers either children’s needs from children’s own perspective, or current research on child custody outcomes. What is needed is a new standard, a "best interests of the child from the perspective of the child" standard, and an approach to child custody determination that is built on a strong foundation of empirical research.
Our own Robert Franklin has written extensively about his work:
Ohio Legislators Help Child Support Obligors
“I’m always overjoyed when the practicalities of the challenges of raising a family are taken into consideration by legislators and policy makers,” said Renuka Mayadev, Children’s Fund of Ohio executive director. “How are you going to pay to take care of children if you can’t get to work?”
“Both the suspension of a license and the potential for facing a new felony charge for failing to pay your child support can occur immediately after somebody serves their time,” said Columbus family lawyer Rick Piatt. “That’s not helping anybody because all of these factors make it less likely that someone will be able to pay.”
“But, if what is owed is an amount that is manageable and they are able to get their child support reduced because of this bill, they might not feel so much despair and hopelessness—and they might get a job and begin paying the money once they’re out.” Piatt has worked on both sides of the child support laws, representing those who are supposed to receive it and those who can’t pay because of jail time or because failure to pay has lead to the loss of a driver’s license and subsequently the loss of a job.
Nearly one in four Ohioans have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, according to state records. A reform bill aimed at reducing as many as 800 collateral sanctions facing ex-offenders is expected to be signed into law by Governor John Kasich very soon. A collateral sanction is something that goes above and beyond what the general sentence originally was.
The goal is to make it easier for ex-cons to find a job on the outside. Senate Bill 337 and House Bill 524 were sponsored in the House by Representatives Tracey Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) and Ross McGregor (R-Springfield), and in the Senate by Representatives Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland).
The revised collateral sanctions will allow for occupational driving privileges to those who owe child support. They will also allow for deeper analysis of how much a parent should actually be paying—especially if they’re not able to earn an income for a measurable amount of time because of incarceration.
Once signed into law, the reform will not only allow ex-cons to apply for certain occupational licenses and certificates that were once off-limits, but will also allow judges to issue a certificate of qualification for employment for certain ex-offenders.
This bill will allow those with felony records to potentially receive cosmetology, construction, casino control commission, and veterinary licenses among many others.
The Other Paper in Columbus, Ohio covered this legislation in their article Collateral Damage.
TV Commercials Depict Good Fathers
Have some fun for Father’s Day by enjoying a few commercials that actually get the message right. Fathers and Families applauds VW Polo, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and MassMutual. Enjoy!
VW Polo commercial
Dick’s sporting goods
In the News
Texas Child Protective Services Circumvents Due Process
Florida Mother Murders Her Four Children
“Father” Must Relinquish Son
Minnesota Governor Vetoes Popular Shared Parenting
Nebraska Ousts Bio Dad
Fathers and Families improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting the 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 and Families’ vision is a society in which:
- Children are happier and more successful because their loving bonds are protected after parental separation or divorce:
- Children have a natural right to be nurtured and guided by both parents:
- Society treats fathers and mothers as equally important to the wellbeing of their children:
- Shared parenting after separation or divorce is the norm:
- The courts arrange finances after separation or divorce so that both mothers and fathers can afford to house and care for their children and themselves: and
- Our society understands and respects the essential role of fathers.
Our core principles are:
- Shared Parenting: Shared parenting protects children’s best interests and the loving bonds children share with both parents after separation or divorce.
- Parental Equality: Equality between genders has been extended to every corner of American society, with one huge exception: family courts and the related agencies.
- Respect for Human and Property Rights: The Supreme Court of the United States has found that “the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children... is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.”
Fathers and Families
PO Box 270760
Boston, Massachusetts 02127-0760