Michigan is just the latest state to consider this fathers’-rights-supported measure, which, despite the euphemistic name, poses a big problem for victims of domestic violence.
Written by Kathi Valeii November 1, 2017
Michigan is considering a shared parenting bill, promoted by fathers’ rights groups, which, as drafted, could be detrimental for victims of domestic abuse.
The bill would require family courts to grant joint legal custody and equal parenting time in custody disputes and divorce. HB 4691 made it out of committee this past summer and is awaiting a hearing in the house. The bill would essentially shift custody decision-making standards from centering the “best interests” of the child to centering the rights of parents. While touted as an equal-parenting initiative, the efforts are spearheaded by father’s rights groups who say that dads don’t don’t get a fair shake in family court. The bill has judges, lawmakers, and domestic abuse advocates concerned about the implications that these blanket rules would have on victims of domestic abuse.
National Parents Organization is the organization that works to advance these shared parenting bills across the country. According to its website, the goal is “to make shared parenting the norm by reforming the family courts and laws in every state.” And, while it strives to maintain an egalitarian agenda of working for parents of all genders, it is a father’s rights group, the grown-up dad version of a men’s rights activist organization, as its original name, Fathers and Families, belies.
The agenda behind shared parenting legislation is important to understand because, while the language around the bills purports to emphasize the rights of both children and parents, these efforts are actually fueled by men’s rights activists who believe that they have been disenfranchised by women and feminism, and that distinction and framework in this discussion matters a lot.
Even without blanket rules that require judges to award equal parenting time, the shift away from awarding sole custody to moms has been increasing, as social norms change. Though not codified in law, gendered language is not used in most state’s guidelines, and the presumption in most states that adhere to “best interests of the child” guidelines is that kids benefit from the presence of both parents.
The shared parenting bill is purportedly a way to reform antiquated and biased family courtroom practices that consider moms as primary caretakers to be the default best interest of the child. But, Rebecca Shiemke, family law attorney specialist for the Michigan Poverty Law Program, says most parents come to agreements about custody on their own, without court intervention. And, she says, gender bias in favor of women in the family courts has not been proven by empirical evidence. In fact, she says, evidence shows the contrary.
A court in Minnesota presumes that joint legal custody is in the child’s best interests. When parents seek joint child custody in Minnesota, the court will consider the following factors prior to reaching a decision:
- The parents’ ability to communicate with one another in decisions that affect the rearing of the child
- Whether it would be harmful to the child if one parent would have sole decision-making responsibility regarding the rearing of the child
- The parents’ willingness to employ cooperative, diverse methods when making decisions that affect the child
- Whether there is a history of domestic violence between the parents
Excerpts: Children in shared custody arrangements “do considerably better on every measure, from school success, to fewer teen pregnancies and drug use, to having optimism for the future,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, a public health practitioner and founder of the National Parents Organization(natioalparentsorganization.org), which aims to reform family court practices.
“If you want to hasten the process of healing, or at least tolerance, the worst thing you can do is declare one person a winner and one person a loser,” he said.
“You’re both winners. You’re both going to be parents. That will actually diminish conflict.”
Read article in its entirety: http://www.startribune.com/rosenblum-new-research-supports-shared-custody-for-children-in-divorce/442255323/
The article is not “new” research. It’s just rhetoric to push a false narrative that shared parenting witll solve all problems. In reality the goal is to keep the problems going-to keep the money flowing. Rosenblum states, “What two factors vastly increase the likelihood of a healthy and happy future for kids after divorce? Mom and Dad.
That’s great if one parent isn’t an abusive and violent person. In family court, domestic violence has been reframed as just a “dispute” and violence is not handled in criminal court where it needs to be.
The systematic mishandling of domestic violence and child molest cases as “custody disputes” is based in a financial corruption scheme that calls for diverting grant program funding through “high conflict” cases, in the guise of promoting “fatherhood” and “shared parenting” post-divorce. Rather than assisting men become responsible parents, “Responsible Fatherhood”, “Access to Visitation Enforcement” (supervised visitation for noncustodial parents), “Child Support Enforcement” and similar federal programs perpetuate abuse of women and children through the legal system. Cindy Ross
There is very little oversight of this money, which means that such programs have gotten away with using fatherhood funds to assist abusive and violent fathers in custody battles against protective mothers.
The vast majority of fathers do not abuse children, and there are many instances where courts have unjustly deprived children of good fathers. The problem is that the programs punish children living with healthy strong mothers by incentivizing courts to cash in by arbitrarily minimizing and even eliminating moms from the picture. Linda Marie Sacks, Co-Chair of the Family Court Committee of the Florida chapter of the National Organization for Women
Excerpts: Numerous reports have identified bias against women and corruption in family courts across the country. In bizarre and illegal rulings, family court judges ignore or deliberately suppress evidence of male perpetrated family violence and child molest. Fathers who are batterers and sex offenders are routinely granted visitation and custody, while mothers and children trying to escape abuse are punished through financial sanctions, loss of custody, supervised visitation, jail and institutionalization.
In the guise of reducing poverty and promoting child welfare, women are forced to stay married and mothers are punished for seeking divorces. In the guise of amicable custody resolution, federal programs enforce the systematic abuse of women and children. The pretense is that government programs produce responsible fathers and healthy families. The reality is that federally funded misogyny and pedophile protection programs are lining the pockets of corrupted court officials and appointees.
RELATED: Happy Mother’s Day