Saturday, May 30, 2009

In OZ ~ A more level playing field ~ Agony of children at divorce has clout

Its interesting how, in this case, active alienation and obstruction by the ex's family ganging up on the other partner worked against the former wife. The judges in OZ seem to be getting it right. Little girl in adult body can't run home to momma and has to stay close to the husband so both can have a meaningful relationship. Gosh maybe she will have to try and get a job too. Here's a definite recruit for Anonymummies the victim feminists from hell. Everybody should start taking marriage and the consequences of breakdown more seriously. If only this was treated seriously here in Canada.MJM<

Caroline Overington | May 30, 2009

Article from: The Australian

THE Family Court has at last recognised the "agony" children suffer during divorce by forcing their warring parents to live close to each other, says a campaigner for the reform introduced by the Howard government.

Michael Green QC, a family law expert who campaigned for the shared parenting amendment enacted in 2006, said yesterday recent decisions proved that the right of a child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents after separation was being taken seriously by the court.

The Australian reported yesterday on the case of Rosa and Rosa, in which a couple moved with their four-year-old daughter to a remote town in northwest Queensland, so the husband could take up a job as a mining engineer.

The marriage broke up six months later. The wife wanted to move back to Sydney, where their daughter was born and had lived four of her five years. She was lonely in the mining town, and living in a caravan, unable to afford anything better.

But the Family Court, and the full bench on appeal, said she could not take her child to Sydney because the reform required judges to presume the best interests of the child were served by having a relationship with both parents.

"I know there are many women associated with the more radical feminist groups who like to underplay the damage done by separation, on children of any age," Mr Green said.

"But in fact the loss, the agony, the child experiences when it loses regular contact with a parent is significant."

Retired Family Court judge Tim Carmody said "it used to be that the mother's right to move with her children was generally seen as compatible with what was in a child's best interests.

"That's no longer necessarily so. The best interests of the child is now seen as being served by having a meaningful relationship with both parents. But what kind of relationship? And at what cost?"

Mr Carmody's decision to leave the Family Court coincided with the reform, and he believes his concern about the ways it would work is now justified, "especially in this situation, where you have a parent condemned to live somewhere they've never really lived, for who knows how long".

Kathryn McMillan SC, a Brisbane family law expert who will speak on the subject at a forum next month, said "relocation cases are always difficult, because it tends to be all or nothing.

"Somebody wants to move, and that means that somebody else is going to lose time with their children.

"One of the questions the judge will sometimes ask is, if I don't allow you to move, will you go without the child?

"Most parents will say, no, of course I won't move without the child.

"And in a sense that means they are damned if they do and damned if they don't, because if they won't move without the child, the judge can make orders that there should be shared parenting, which means they get stuck."

Jacky Campbell of Forte Family Lawyers in Brisbane said the "shared parenting laws are being imposed on people who are not co-operating at all, and the outcome is often poor".

In Rosa and Rosa, the wife's parents, sister and other family members had nothing good to say about her husband, and that played against her because the court thought they wouldn't encourage her to keep the child in contact with her father.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Philadelphia Daily News ~ Fatimah Ali: 'Deadbeat Dads' an insult to reality

TV producers will do anything for ratings it appears even exploit the vulnerability of children's self esteem by having to watch a bounty hunter track down so called "deadbeat dads." What impact will it have on a child in their home, or when confronted by their peers in school or the playground if they or a friend sees 50% of their genetic heritage abused by the system in the guise of entertainment. The victim feminists will cheer this on as they have only their own personal grievances with their arch enemy, the patriarchy, (that's you and me if you are a man) and they really don't give a damn about the impact on children. Its one of the reasons why they don't believe parental alienation is emotional abuse. They practice it but remain in denial and a certain amount of narcissism is involved in their thinking process. This has a range from mild to obsessive.

Study after study shows the vast number of fathers don't pay all of the child support because they can't afford it. Child support is actually a combination of support for the child and the mother in disguise. The victim feminists have convinced the gullible bureaucrats and feminized acolytes involved in setting up these tables it is a requirement for the well being of children when in fact, as usual, it is 1:) Something they believe is an entitlement based on the notion motherhood trumps everything and 2) They are victims of a patriarchy and cannot get ahead because of that.

Most of this is BS but it's hard to change the thinking that is so ingrained with the parallel notion of "Apple Pie" in American discourse. Unfortunately this powerful and wrong headed approach to families spreads outside its borders with lots of copy cats ready to take up the banner of victim hood. It sells well.

Other studies show these entitlements along with others serve as an inducement for women to divorce and lead to poor social outcomes, increase the rates of divorce and contribute to p
overty. Poverty is a leading indicator for further social problems of our children. The social engineering by judges, who don't have a clue about the damage they have caused for two generations through their feminized approach to custody and marginalizing fathers, is evident across, not only this nation, but most western democracies and has spread to south Asian countries like India.

I would invite all reasonable families to boycott Lifetime TV.

After reading the Philadelphia article read the following one from the Cleveland Plain Dealer tha
t clearly shows the route victim feminism takes and it's impacts. No doubt the dad was given the restraining order because of false allegations. No doubt the judge will say she is a good mother but needs more child support.

Finally the last article is an example of child support bureaucracy zealots gone mad, also in Pennsylvania. It's a very sorry state of affairs when this kind of corruption evolves.MJM


JUST WHEN I thought TV couldn't sink any lower with some of its toxic programming, yet another new reality show is poised to hit the lineup - "Deadbeat Dads" on Lifetime.

The show targets fathers who refuse to pay child support, and features businessman Jim Durham's collection agency, called National Child Support.

My first "primal thought" was darn, they got here 15 years too late to help me. But my more spiritually evolved side knows better, and I realize those evil thoughts are just wrong. Durham and the Lifetime producers who created the show are the ones who should be flogged - for using the woes of single mothers and their children to boost ratings.

Unfortunately, my evil twin rears her ugly head from time to time, and recaps the unpleasant memories of what it was like not getting child support from my ex-husband. When I was a single mother, he accrued more than $150,000 in unpaid court-ordered child support, which kept me in a tizzy for years.

He made enough money, yet he neglected his obligations because he was angry at me, not because he didn't love our kids.

Despite the fact that I worked two jobs, my children and I were always struggling without his contribution. But I was a wimp and never petitioned the courts to issue an arrest warrant for his blatant disregard of our children's needs. His sudden demise made the judge's order moot. It can be almost impossible to collect back support from a dead man with a tangled-up life.

While he was still alive, the reasons I didn't want him imprisoned were simple, as well as selfish. I didn't want to have to take our children to visit him in jail because I knew it would be traumatic. But mostly I realized that having him arrested would prevent him from working and put yet another stigma on our already challenged life.

Two decades later, I still feel just as strongly that throwing deadbeat parents in jail is a stupid idea. And it definitely shouldn't be televised. This only causes. more problems in a child's life. The residual effects that deadbeat parents have on kids are way deeper than the unpaid money and leave deep psychological scars.

While researching the effects absentee fathers have on their offspring, I came across a publication called "The One Hundred Billion Dollar Man, the Annual Public Costs of Father Absence." Written by professors Stephen Nock and Christopher Einolf, of the University of Virginia and St. Paul University, respectively, their research shows that fatherless households cost U.S. taxpayers $98.9 billion a year. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of the many problems that female-headed households face.

Their findings also show that children of single parents are more likely to do poorly in school and drop out of college and are at greater risk of being incarcerated or on drugs than children who have both parents in the home.

Just a year ago, President Obama caught flak for telling black fathers to take more responsibility for their children during a speech at a Chicago church. With Father's Day just around the corner, I anticipate that his message this year will have a much wider reach than just for African-Americans.

The issue of absentee fathers isn't just a black problem, it's now an American one. And it touches nearly every community and crosses all racial and socio-economic barriers. I also think many women must share some of the blame for deciding that we can go it alone. Ladies, we've screwed up royally and our children are suffering because of it.

Feminists will probably jump all over me, but here's the real deal.

Many of us joined the women's movement decades ago without looking ahead to see what repercussions our actions would have on both our families and the economy. Now, most of us have to work, which leaves our husbands and children angry because no one is at home tending the hearth.

Our choice to be independent of men financially and of the family structure creates a wide range of problems in our children. And many men feel displaced and angry now because women are competing with them at work.

Far too many women are willing to go it alone and risk poverty and instability for shallow reasons of "self-empowerment" rather than trying to work out their marital challenges. Families need both parents in the household - not just economically but also spiritually and morally.

The whole idea of a "Deadbeat Dads" show is ludicrous. The creators are using the program to exploit what is really a much larger social problem - America's broken families. *

Fatimah Ali is a journalist, media consultant and an associate member of the Daily News editorial board.






Cleveland mother arrested after leaving 2-year-old home alone


by Mark Puente/Plain Dealer Reporter
Wednesday May 20, 2009, 11:22 AM

Updated at 8:12 p.m.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Cleveland mother faces child-endangering charges after police said she left her 2-year-old home alone hooked up to an empty feeding tube.

Valencia Davis, 28, left her daughter alone Tuesday afternoon with a tube running from her stomach to an empty plastic bag hanging on a wall in an East 84th Street house, according to a police report. The girl suffers from a brain condition and cerebral palsy, Davis told police.

The toddler's father called police after he visited the house to check on her. The man, who also is the father of one of the woman's two other children, told police he was barred from the home by a temporary protection order but feared for the safety of the children and went inside. Officers found the 2-year-old unresponsive, with dried mucus on her face, and living in filthy conditions, the report said. Police called an ambulance.

Before paramedics arrived, Davis returned home with the two other children and screamed at the man for having called police. Davis told police she was the real victim and that it was not wrong to leave the 2-year-old alone, according to the report.

Officers searched the house and did not find any food, except for cereal strewn on the floor.

The 2-year-old was in stable condition Wednesday at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.

Davis was in City Jail and could not be reached for comment.


Man files suit after ID error put him in jail

Patriot-News, Central PA

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

BY PETE SHELLEM pshellem@patriot-news.com

A Philadelphia man who was thrown in the Dauphin County Prison four times for failing to pay support for someone else's child has filed a federal lawsuit.

In his suit, Walter Andre Sharpe charges that officials tampered with his personal information to make him appear to be the father.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. Middle District Court comes on the heels of Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr.'s announcement that no criminal charges would be filed in the case.

Sharpe's attorney, Spero T. Lappas, said the lawsuit might change his outlook.

"Maybe after he reviews the information we assembled during our investigation of the lawsuit, he might want to reconsider his position," Lappas said.

The lawsuit says domestic relations officials in Montgomery County changed Sharpe's name in their computer system because he at one time used his mother's maiden name. Changes were also made in Dauphin County's systems and in a statewide computer network in 1999.

The changes in the system forced Walter Sharpe to pay $12,000 in support for another man's child and landed him in the Dauphin County Prison four times for not keeping up with the payments.

The problems began when Sharpe signed for a certified letter in 2001 addressed to Andre Sharpe, the real father. Walter Sharpe ignored the letter, thinking it was a mistake.

A county judge ruled Walter Sharpe was the father and the Domestic Relations office ordered him to pay $447 a month support, along with $5,730 in back payments.

The suit says employees of Dauphin County Domestic Relations changed his information and fought his attempts to prove he was not the father.

It took The Patriot-News less than a hour to find the real father, who said he had custody of the child.

The agency has declined to comment on the case. Officials from Montgomery County Domestic Relations have not returned phone calls.

The suit seeks unspecified damages for civil rights violations.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Robin" free as a bird






Tue, 2009-05-26 17:29.
Shuyee Lee

The four year saga pitting the courts against "Robin" aka the man who scaled the Jacques Cartier Bridge- is over.


And our wannabe crimefighter has discovered his fate.


In our last episode, mild-mannered engineer Benoit Leroux was ready to defend his request for an unconditional discharge after being found guilty of mischief and conspiracy for dressing up as Batman's sidekick Robin and scaling the Jacques Cartier Bridge four years ago to bring attention to the rights of single dads in custody cases.


But Judge Gilles Cadieux says they have to send a message of dissuasion to the public so he gave him a conditional discharge including 180 hours of community work and two years probation, assuring Leroux the discharge meant no criminal record, so no problems travelling to the U.S. to work or to see his young daughter there.


Leroux looked and sounded tired and somewhat defeated but he is satisfied and content the four year battle is over and he can hang up his cape for good.


"It feels really well. It's a weight on my shoulders (that) is lifted even though I have to make a lot of hours of community work."

Power' move by male students ruffles U. of C.


chicagotribune.com

By Sara Olkon

Tribune reporter

1:58 PM CDT, May 27, 2009

Click here to find out more!

A group of University of Chicago students think it's time the campus focused more on its men.

A third-year student from Lake Bluff has formed Men in Power, a student organization that promises to help men get ahead professionally. But the group's emergence has been controversial, with some critics charging that its premise is misogynistic.

Others say it's about time men are championed, noting that recent job losses hit men harder and that women earn far more bachelor's and master's degrees than do men.

"It's an enormous disparity now," said Warren Farrell, author of "The Myth of Male Power" and former board member of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women. He noted, among other things, an imbalance in government and private initiatives that advance the interests of women and girls.

Further, Farrell said, just because some men are doing well is hardly a reason not to applaud efforts to boost the careers of other men.

"It's like saying 'is it OK for the Yankees to keep recruiting new players because the Chicago Cubs have not won as often?' "

Steve Saltarelli, the president of Men in Power, wrote a satirical column in March in which he suggested forming such a group. "Anyone with an interest in both studying and learning from men in powerful positions, as well as issues involved with reverse sexism, may become a member of MiP," he wrote.

Shortly after the column ran, Saltarelli started getting e-mail messages from men eager to join.

"Mainly people are just excited about the idea that men can have a group as well," Saltarelli explained.

Sharlene Holly, associate dean of students and the director of student activities, said the University of Chicago has approximately nine women's advocacy groups on campus; this group would be the first male advocacy group.

Saltarelli said some 125 students -- including a few women -- have joined the group via its Facebook page. He said the group would host pre-professional groups in law, medicine and business, foster ties with alumni, bring in speakers to discuss masculinity and mentor local middle school students as part of its "Little Men in Power" program.

Holly said she expected to approve the organization's application this week. As a registered student organization, Men in Power could then apply for event funding. The group plans to hold its first event, a student panel discussion titled "Gender and Media: Trespassing the Taboo," on June 2.

Saltarelli, who plans to attend law school, said the emergence of Men in Power has angered some students, especially "people very set in their ways."

To be sure, its title attracts attention.

"The name implies some things that I don't love," said Liz Scoggin, a third-year student who joined the group a couple of weeks ago and now heads its outreach efforts. "I feel like it implies there aren't enough men in power or that kind of thing."

But Scoggin, who is close friends with Saltarelli, said she joined after learning more about the group's aims and after she felt assured that the organization would not pursue a sexist agenda.

Jessica Pan, president of Women in Business and a fourth-year student, questioned whether Men in Power's goals were being met by existing student groups.

"I'm not sure we really need another student organization that focuses on pre-professional development for men," Pan said, noting that, in just the area of business, there were five or six students groups that were gender-neutral.

Similarly, Ali Feenstra, a third-year student and a member of the Feminist Majority, questioned Men in Power's utility.

"It's like starting 'white men in business' -- there's not really any purpose," she said.

Fred Hayward, founder of Men's Rights Inc., would disagree.

Hayward, who is based in Sacramento, Calif., started his men's group in 1977. Then and now, he said, women have not paid enough attention to what it means to be a man in modern society.

Hayward said one of the biggest myths borne of the women's movement was that men like to help each other out.

"We are competing directly for access to women and jobs," he said.

The group's birth comes at a time when the recessionary ax has fallen especially hard on men. In February, the national unemployment rate for men was 8.8 percent, compared with 7.3 percent for women.

Future employment is also an issue, some experts say. Since 1981, women have collected 135 for every 100 bachelor's degrees awarded to men, according to Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan in Flint. The gap is even wider at the master's level, with women trumping men 150 to 100, he said.

Saltarelli hopes Men in Power will help more men get ahead while raising awareness of the male experience.

"If we have good men in our society, everyone benefits," he said.

solkon@tribune.com

New Fathers 4 Justice ~ ‘Spiderpostie’ kicks up a stink with Gordon Brown

Well done NF4J. For those of you who think this is foolish. Think again. The notion of getting political change requires one get attention.

The activity is about and for children. Children think of dads and moms, at certain points in their upbringing, as Super Heroes. Super Hero costumes are kid friendly. They do not scare children.

No change can occur without getting the attention of the public and law makers. Finally these civil rights advocates for making children's lives more complete, secure, and fulfilled are doing it for love and the passion derived from being marginalized. The notion of dads walking away is not in their thinking process.

I wish everyone hired to do a job had their passion. Wouldn't it be nice if your MP's had the same passion for children as they do for graft and corruption!MJM

'Spiderpostie' sends nappies to Gordon Brown
'Spiderpostie' sends nappies to Gordon Brown


By Chine Mbubaegbu
May 27, 2009

A Tilehurst dad dressed as Spiderman posted nappies to the Prime Minister as part of a stunt to push for greater rights for fathers.

The man, who is in his 40s, donned his ‘Spiderpostie’ outfit and sent the nappies to Gordon Brown to urge him to stop ‘disposing’ of dads in society.

His nappy-posting follows other similar stunts by Fred Flinstone in Devon and Batman in Sussex.

Across the country, members of campaign group New Fathers 4 Justice have been dressing as superheroes and posting nappies to Downing Street.

The dad, who asked not to be named, recently joined the group and hopes his nappies will push the Prime Minister to action.

Spiderpostie said: “I don’t need to use my super powers to see what the family courts are doing to fatherhood and loving dads. It is incredible the Government and family court system can justify doing this to loving dads.

“It’s time this Government stopped acting like children, realised that we are sitting on a time bomb. Society is in breakdown and fathers should have a right to have contact with their children.

“We need to send messages that they will listen to and we are fighting for change. The recent opening of the family courts is just another web of deceit.”

The anonymous dad joined New Fathers 4 Justice – a group set up after Fathers 4 Justice disbanded in September 2008 – after struggling with the court system for two years while divorcing his wife.

Speaking to the Evening Post, he likened the family courts system to the latest MP expenses fiasco and said both needed greater transparency.

He said: “There’s lots of things going on behind closed doors. I have experienced a hell of a lot of bias against fathers in the family courts.

“Before I filed for divorce, there was no problem at all with child contact, but once solicitors got involved it was like throwing a hand grenade into the situation.

“They want you to argue between your ex-partner as hard and as much as possible. We want to change that with this campaign.”

COMMENTS

Well done NF4J. For those of you who think this is foolish. Think again. The notion of getting political change requires one get attention.

The activity is about and for children. Children think of dads and moms, at certain points in their upbringing, as Super Heros. Super Hero costumes are kid friendly. They do not scare children.

No change can occur without getting the attention of the public and law makers. Finally these civil rights advocates for making children's lives more complete, secure, and fulfilled are doing it for love and the passion derived from being marginalized. The notion of dads walking away is not in their thinking process.

I wish everyone hired to do a job had their passion. Wouldn't it be nice if your MP's had the same passion for children as they do for graft and corruption!

MikeMurphy, Sault Ste. Marie, ON Canada
27/05/2009 at 20:44


Well done Spiderman!!! Labour has been in government now for 12 years and have done absolutely nothing to stop the plight of fathers in the UK. The likes of Brown, Harman, Straw and Ed Balls do not give a jot about Dads not seeing their kids. It must stop. The solicitor "gravy train industry" must stop.....for the sake of our kids. I for one will be sending a message in my nappy to Gordon too and hope everyone else does!!
spider on the roof, bristol
27/05/2009 at 17:20

Although I do support the cause they are fighting for, they could go about getting their message across in a more responsible, sensible manner.

I mean, after all, they want greater access rights to their kids yet their stunts make them look like irresponsible morons who shouldn't be given any access to their own children.
Emma Royds
27/05/2009 at 12:54

Well done Spiderpostie

WE hear on the news that there were worries some MPs caught with their fingers in the taxpayers’ pie were contemplating committing suicide.

What about the fathers denied access to their children who commit suicide on a fairly regular basis due to the present family court system?

This is a scandal and it seems only people in high office are able to fiddle their expenses while the rest of us have to cope with no access to our children, the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, or the threat of redundancies.

These hypocrites, many of whom are partners in law firms or have an interest in keeping the ‘family law gravy train’ going, should be treated the same way as fathers – ie confiscate their passport, deduct money from their bank accounts, and take their driving licences away if they refuse to pay back their expenses.

Recently the welfare reform bill gave CMEC the ability to take maintenance payments without prior approval or scrutiny from a court.

For fathers, this means the safety net of the court has been removed, despite the fact the present Child Support Agency has a well-documented history of making mistakes. These measures are draconian. Many divorced parents, mainly fathers, are fighting to keep themselves afloat after separation and many absent parents will be hounded for money they don’t have or owe. For years, many fathers have been struggling to overcome the debt, poverty and childlessness forced upon them to fight the system, Cafcass and the CSA.

Often, the very people who proclaim to be acting in the child’s best interests are those who profit the most.

Neil Rees, Reading

27/05/2009 at 12:53

Man in Spiderman costume tells government to "stop acting like children"...
Millicent Reeves, Upper Caversham
27/05/2009 at 12:34


Globe & Mail ~ Mother of ‘missing' 10-year-old girl arrested in B.C.

Sanity can prevail. When no action was perceived on this case the justice system fell into further disrepute. Hopefully the child can get counselling and be reunited with her father.MJM




Girl called 911 to say she had been abused; police learn she had been declared missing by father two years ago

Globe & Mail, Ian Bailey

Vancouver From Wednesday,

The mother at the centre of a cross-country custody dispute that gained considerable attention when the child in the matter ran away from her Vancouver home and called 911 has been arrested.

Araceli Bravo was detained by Vancouver Police at an undisclosed location in the city. Montreal police are expected to arrive Wednesday to escort her back to Quebec.

Police in B.C. were acting on a Canada-wide warrant for abduction in contravention of a custody order, said Constable Jana McGuinness, a spokeswoman for Vancouver Police.

The arrest was “uneventful,” Constable McGuinness said, noting that police in Vancouver acted on information from their counterparts in Montreal. She declined to be more specific.

Constable Yannick Ouimet of the Montreal force said he could not comment on the information supplied to B.C. police. “We never reveal our tactics,” he said Tuesday, noting that he had not even heard about the arrest of Ms. Bravo until told about it by a reporter.

Ashley Gonis, 10, turned up at a Vancouver SkyTrain station last month and called 911 suggesting that she was being abused at home.

Police dismissed that suggestion. Ashley's Montreal-based father, Frank Gonis, had been looking for her for two years after Ms. Bravo allegedly kidnapped her in a custody dispute. Although Montreal police had issued an arrest warrant for Ms. Bravo, it was enforceable only in Quebec until recently.

Mr. Gonis, a home renovator, said Tuesday that his focus now is on his daughter.

“Ashley is coming home. That's all that's important,” he said in an interview. He said he expected his daughter, now under government supervision in B.C., would be placed in foster care when she is returned to Quebec while decisions are made about how to proceed.

“I know she's mixed up,” he said.

Mr. Gonis travelled to B.C. after his daughter turned up, but the custody dispute with Ms. Bravo continued in the courts and he was unable to see Ashley.

“It didn't go well,” he said.

He noted that authorities lost track of his former partner after the hearing, until Tuesday.

Mr. Gonis said he never gave up due to concern about his daughter.

“I knew I could offer her a lot,” he said.

As for Ms. Bravo, he added, “she'll have to go before the courts and we'll see what happens.”

WHAT IS THE COST OF FAMILY BREAKDOWN IN CANADA?






New research finds family breakdown costs billions annually; quantifies the savings were family breakdown to decrease

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada invites you to join us for a briefing on June 3, 2009. In “Private Choices, Public Costs: How failing families cost us all,” authors Rebecca Walberg and Andrea Mrozek examine the relationship between poverty, families and government. They quantify government spending directed at poverty alleviation for broken families through welfare, child care costs and housing. That cost rises into the billions annually; the exact price tag will be released at the lunchtime briefing on Parliament Hill on June 3.

Consistently, not only in Canada but in OECD nations, lone parent households are more likely to live in poverty. “Certainly the main concern around family breakdown is the emotional toll,” say the authors Rebecca Walberg and Andrea Mrozek. “But the fiscal costs are evident, and those can be more readily measured.”

The report describes

• the relationship between strong families and a strong economy
• the feminization of poverty
• how Canada compares with other nations
• the methodology used to reach our conservative estimate
• recommendations

The report highlights the costs province by province, discussing why and how stable marriages contribute to a stronger economy. “If we are serious about reducing poverty,” say the authors, “especially children and women in poverty, we must address the effects of family breakdown.”

Please join us on June 3 to learn more about the costs of family breakdown.

For more information, check www.imfcanada.org
To register, click here

EVENT DETAILS
Date: June 3, 2009
Time: 12:00-1:30
Place: Room 214, Wellington Building, 180 Wellington St., (corner of Wellington and Bank)

This briefing is open to the public and free of charge, however, registration is required for parliamentary security and to confirm numbers for lunch. (A light lunch will be served.)

For additional information or to arrange an interview, please contact Andrea Mrozek, Manager of Research and Communications at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada at 613-565-3832.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada conducts, compiles and presents family research to ensure that marriage and family-friendly policies are foremost in the minds of Canada’s decision makers.

2001-130 rue Albert Street Ottawa Ontario Canada K1P 5G4
t 613.565.3832 f/t 613.565.3803 1.866.373.4632
www.imfcanada.org

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In Sault Ste. Marie, ON Some Domestic Violence Supplemental Information for the Editor

The Editor, The Sault Star
145 Old Garden River Rd.
Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 5M5

Re: Ashley Caputo Letter Saturday, May 23, 2009 Help Prevent Abuse Of Women

Ashley has done a good job of researching issues related to a single gender in the realm of Domestic Violence (DV). She is to be congratulated for her efforts. I want to advise there is further information on this serious issue but it involves two genders. In Canada, as it is in most western democracies, DV is pretty much equal between genders. Statistics Canada reports in "Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2005" An estimated 7% of women and 6% of men representing 653,000 women and 546,000 men in a current or previous spousal relationship encountered spousal violence during the five years up to and including 2004.

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/Daily/English/050714/d050714a.htm

Police reported violence is only the tip of a very large iceberg. Men only report about 10% of the time and so they do not appear in overwhelming numbers in these statistics. They do not report for a variety of reasons related to social mores. Men are socialized to "suck it up". After all we are "manly" men. In many cases, where mandatory arrest policies exist, the police will arrest the man if the woman makes false accusations which are pretty common even though she started the dispute. In one study conducted by the Centre for Disease Control it found 71% of the instigators of a physical dispute were females.

Christina Hoff Sommers, author of "Who Stole Feminism" published in 1994 said in a recent lecture in January 2009, "The dominant philosophy of today's women's movement is not equity feminism--but "victim feminism." "Victim" feminists don't want to hear about the ways in which women have succeeded. They want to focus on and often invent new ways and perspectives in which women can be regarded as oppressed and subordinated to men."

Our daughters and sons are being taught this kind of mythology and one sidedness. Both men and women can be victims and a new paradigm is needed in order to come to grips with treating it properly. It needs family intervention not a one gender approach. I have experienced emotional, financial and physical abuse. Many of you know me and realize I am not a 99 lb weakling, a shrinking violet or overly shy and introverted. My book when published will chronicle instances of female on male abuse and start with the following which is only one of many instances of abuse my research and experience has uncovered. Emotional abuse can be just as devastating as physical abuse but the irony is the scars can last a lifetime.

"What if… your best friend, life partner, lover, wife and soul mate committed theft, fraud and forgery against your former employer?

What if … the partner causes you the worst humiliation in your life and loss of career …

Michael Murphy


The letter to the editor which initiated my response is as follows:

Help prevent abuse of women


According to the report Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile


(2008), there were more than 38,000 incidents of spousal violence reported to police in 2006. Of these, 83 per cent of victims were female and 61 per cent were assaulted by a current or ex-spouse.


Abuse can happen to women of all backgrounds, regardless of education, race, religion or social status.


Clearly, abuse of women is a serious, ongoing societal issue.


While doing research for a class assignment about woman abuse, I discovered an excellent resource, Neighbours, Friends and Families. It is an Ontario public awareness initiative that educates the community about the signs of woman abuse and encourages those close to a victim or abuser to help.


In addition to outlining signs of abuse, it provides practical information about safety planning and recommends helpful community resources for both victims and perpetrators.


Even though many health-care providers are trained to screen women for past or present abuse, the first ones to notice a problem may be the woman's family or friends. They can support her by listening and by helping to increase her safety and the safety of her children.


Everyone in the community has a role to play in helping to prevent the abuse of women.


Visit www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.ca for more information.


Ashley C.

SSM

For some, Father's Day is a sad and bitter occasion

This is from a 2008 column but deserves republishing as Father's Day 2009 rapidly bears down on the father's marginalized by Family Law (FLAW). It is written with a passion only a man impacted by the nefarious foulness of a system designed to place biological dads into a wasteland created by thoughtless and perfidious idolization of mythologies created by victim feminists and acted upon by dutiful robotic drones called judges who have to be incompetent for they have failed miserably in acting on the "best interests" of children. Our jails and social order are profoundly telling us our children are in need. They need their fathers - it so simple but yet so startling invisible to those who can make a difference.MJM

By David Warren, Ottawa Citizen
Published: Sunday, June 15, 2008
















Father's day can be a lonely and bitter time for those dads
who have been separated from their children.
Photograph by: Photo.com

For some tens of thousands of fathers, in your Canadian province alone, "Father's Day" is an especially bitter occasion. These are the men separated from their children by court order, many never to see them again. Each knows that his children have been subjected to vicious propaganda against him, that in many cases a child's own mother -- a woman the father once trusted enough to marry -- has turned the child's heart against him. (I know of many cases.)

It could be worse: for the father may have been replaced in his own household by a new man, or even a new woman. Someone who will never care for his children as he did, however badly he may have expressed it; who will at least be lacking the biological compulsion to look out for one's own flesh and blood.

In a further twist, whether or not mom has found a new squeeze, the ostracized dad may be making court-ordered spousal support payments sufficiently onerous to put him on a cot in some closet -- hounded by process servers, and under the threat of jail if his payments fall behind. (I know this experience at first hand.)

There is no cure for it. The legal papers make clear -- go to lengths to make clear -- that he will be hounded until the day he dies. Male suicide rates, not only in this province but across North America, are at their highest level since the depth of the Depression in the 1930s. They are four times higher than the female suicide rate, and while no government has the guts to gather statistics on this, it is an easy guess that family court disasters lie behind a large proportion of them.

The legacy of feminism has been to make us acutely aware of women's sensibilities, no matter how frivolous; and obtusely indifferent to men's, no matter how grave. Men are consistently demonized in the feminist propaganda, women consistently presented as victims, in defiance of the facts of human nature, which show the capacity for evil to be well-distributed. Under the pressure of feminist lobbying, our entire family law system has been skewed so that the man almost invariably pays, the woman almost invariably collects, regardless of the circumstances. Only in the most extraordinary cases is the man granted custody of the children, or even equal access.

The keystone of the feminist order is "domestic violence." Men are so universally presented as having "anger management issues," that even in the extreme case, where a woman has murdered her husband, the court will invite feminist "experts" to argue that the man must have deserved it. And the man in this scene is unable to defend his own posthumous reputation, for dead men tell no tales.

The statistics show domestic violence to be well-distributed between the sexes, although there are knots and wrinkles before we get to that result. For instance, men are actually more likely to physically bully and abuse women than vice versa (on the average, women are physically smaller). On the other hand, women are more likely to physically bully and abuse children and the elderly (who are smaller and weaker than they).

And there can be no justice, no approximation to justice, unless each charge is considered on its merits, free of malicious, "politically correct" ideology.

I hold no brief for men, or women. They are absolutely necessary to each other, and on their mutual sympathy the future of every society depends. Very few men or women are saints. By no means is any father, who has fallen afoul of, say, Ontario's Kafkaesque "Family Responsibility Office" entirely innocent. At the very least he exercised poor judgment in his selection of a mate.

But men are not exceptionally evil, nor women neither. Some of each are monsters, in their several ways.

All are subject to temptations, and our skewed family law has the effect of putting so many temptations in the way of women, that many fail to resist. Not because they are women, but because of skewed law, many women employ the dirty tactic of laying false charges that, under our present order, will immediately get them custody and whatever else they may

want -- with little risk of punishment, even if they are caught lying. This simply stands to reason.

Indeed, the removal of common sense from family law -- and its replacement, over the last two generations, with various feminist mantras -- has made this problem almost impossible to fix. For the debate is now inevitably over, "How much feminism is the right amount?"

Whereas, there is no "right amount" of feminism, if feminism has become a hateful ideology declaring that the interests of one class (women) take priority over the interests of another (men).

To those fathers who had the wisdom to marry good women, and who wake this morning to the joy reflected in the face of each beloved child: You have your reward, and it is very beautiful. Join us now in praying for all the others.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Custody Situations in various countries with respect to Shared/Equal Parenting

I have updated my world wide search for information on various custody regimes.

Within this information are excerpts from a presentation by Peter Tromp, PhD, child and educational psychologist, President of the Father Knowledge Centre Europe, and Chair of the Dutch Foundation for Children, on Access and Equal Parenting at the International Conference on Family and Equality “Justice and Father’s & Men’s Dignity” on 2-4 January 2009 in Drama, Greece. If you want an update on the current European movement toward custody arrangements and insights into the current consequences of the adversarial process this is a worthwhile read. I would recommend studying it if you are currently before the courts as it might have information to bolster your affidavits with respect to sole custody negative outcomes or step parent involvement in sole custody mother situations. Although the negatives parallel our own it is interesting to hear it from a psychologist deeply immersed in the dysfunction.

His comments on the Belgium situation are also up-to-date and he gives a preliminary look at the new Dutch Law implemented on January 1, 2009. He is Dutch and gives candid comments on the "legislating from the bench" judiciary of his homeland. He also gives a more detailed analysis of the Dutch law in Appendix "A" at the end of the presentation. The PDF is a worthwhile addition to CEPC's library.

The presentation is quite long but also detailed and one of the best overviews I have seen recently. You can visit the web site here http://fkce.wordpress.com/2009/01/03/13/ and download the PDF of the presentation on site.MJM

First though a short video to offer thoughts on why its best for children to have two parents in their lives. As the video states its the best child support out there.






USA State Department

Sweden

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

GENERAL INFORMATION: Sweden is a civil-law country. Judicial proceedings in a civil-law country generally differ from those in the United States, a common-law country, in several significant ways. For example, juries are not used. Legal cases are heard and decided by a judge or panel of judges that can include lay judges. Evidence can be presented and arguments can be made in oral hearings, but such hearings tend to play a secondary role, supplementing extensive written submissions to the judge. The judge normally can play a more active role in proceedings than is common in U.S. courts. Whereas a U.S. judge may be limited to serving, in effect, as a referee between two adversaries, judges in a civil law country might, for example, seek evidence independently of what either side presents. In Sweden, the civil courts handle divorce and custody cases, while Hague cases are heard in Stockholm City Court. Swedish courts do not generally recognize, register, or enforce foreign court orders regarding custody, although a U.S. statute or court order may be considered in adjudication of a Hague case to determine if a removal/retention was “wrongful.” The Swedish government provides Legal Aid for individuals involved in Swedish custody proceedings and in Hague cases, depending on the level of income, but regardless of nationality.

Custody: In Sweden, married parents have joint custody of a child from birth until the child reaches the age of 18. Under Swedish law, a mother who bears a child out of wedlock is automatically initially granted sole custody of the child. Upon the birth of such a child, the Swedish Tax Authority (responsible for birth registrations in Sweden) informs the social welfare board that a child has been born out of wedlock. The social welfare board, in turn, contacts the mother and requests that both parents appear and execute an acknowledgement of paternity. The parents are given the opportunity to decide if they will agree to joint custody. The documents are then approved by the social welfare board and forwarded to the Tax Authority. The Tax Authority maintains up-to-date records on the child’s custodial parent(s), known in Sweden as “vardnadshavare.” Swedish authorities report that out-of-wedlock fathers have the same custody/access rights as every other father. The U.S. Embassy in Stockholm has found, in the cases known to it, that fathers of children born out of wedlock have rarely been able to obtain custody or visitation without the mother’s consent.

The Swedish Children and Parents Code prescribes that the “best interests of the child” are of paramount consideration for any orders and decisions regarding custody, residence and contact. The Code also states that when deciding what constitutes a child’s “best interests,” special consideration should be given to a child’s need for contact with both parents.

Access: Swedish courts have extremely wide latitude with respect to access orders. However, appeals may complicate a court’s ability to enforce access/visitation orders. A court may refuse to enforce an access order if the court is convinced that circumstances have manifestly changed since the order was made or that it is in the “best interests” of the child to revisit the order. It is important to note that Swedish courts do not have the equivalent of “contempt of court,” a strong enforcement tool used by U.S. courts. In the United States, a judge can order a party to comply with legal rulings or face arrest, imprisonment and/or a fine. In Sweden a parent who refuses to obey a Swedish court order may, if there are special reasons, risk penalty of a fine in order to secure that he or she will entrust the other parent with the child. The neglect to comply with the court order may also affect that parent’s future possibilities to maintain custody of the child.

Swedish authorities report that gender bias is prohibited by the Swedish constitution. The U.S. Embassy in Stockholm notes that in non-Hague Convention cases involving American fathers and Swedish mothers, the Swedish courts have more often given custody to the Swedish mother. The Embassy has also found that the Swedish courts tend to favor Swedish mothers in cases involving visitation and access conflicts. Swedish courts have enforced very few of the rulings favorable to American fathers.

Criminal aspects: It is a crime under Swedish penal law to abduct children.

From: Library of Congress:

Married couples have joint custody of a child from birth until the child reaches the age of 18. An unmarried mother is given sole custody of the child. If the parents marry later, both of them obtain custody of the child from that point in time, unless a court previously entrusted custody to one or two specially appointed custodians. If only one of the parents has custody of the child and the parents wish to have joint custody, the court will, on their application, make an order in accordance with their request, unless joint custody is manifestly incompatible with the best interest of the child. Alternatively, the parents may obtain joint custody by filing a request with the tax authority. If parents who share custody divorce, there is a presumption that they will continue to exercise joint custody of the child; however, the question of with whom the child will be living often gathers overriding attention. Moreover, joint custody entails that all major decisions regarding the child will be made collaboratively, for example, one parent needs the consent of the other parent to travel abroad with the child, and both parents will have access to information from schools and the authorities. Joint custody additionally entails that parents can decide, out-of-court, on visitation rights and where the child will be residing as long as the arrangements are compatible with the best interest of the child. In contrast, a parent granted sole custody independently decides on all matters regarding the child, including living arrangements.


If the parents do not agree, for instance on the issue of where the child will be living, or in case one parent wants to change the current accords on custody against the other parent’s will, he must file a judicial petition with a court of law, which must then decide whether the custody henceforth will be joint or solely granted to either party. Since 1998, it has been possible for the court to decide on joint custody against the wishes of one of the parents. Frequently the courts task the social authorities to conduct mediation talks between the parents before rendering a decision in cases in which the parents do not agree on custody, visitations rights, or the residence of the child.

With respect to access rights, a child is entitled to visitation with both parents.23 There is no
contrasting right for parental access to a child. If the parents do not live together, the parent with whom the child is residing has a responsibility to facilitate access to both parents, including sharing costs that might arise in this connection. The willingness to facilitate access to both parents can be taken into account by a court of law when deciding the issue of custody. If there is an indication that a parent might abduct a child while exercising parental visitation, the court may proscribe that the parent is only allowed to meet with the child in the presence of another person or only in Sweden.24

From Scottish Government Sources

Sweden

In Sweden, contact operates with a graded mix of private ordering, social services and family courts. The presumption is for both parents to have automatic joint custody of (i.e. legal responsibility for) their child, if they are married, that remains so after separation when the child might live with one parent. Child contact is seen primarily as a child welfare issue, and there is no specialist family court within the Swedish legal system. Agreement and cooperation is encouraged between separated parents on custody, residence and access, supported and facilitated by local social services first, followed by court intervention afterwards if necessary. Law reform in 2006 was based on the two principles: the best interests of the child and the right of the child to be heard. There is a child-centred approach to contact decisions, and a presumption that a child needs a good and close relationship with both of its parents. Regard must be given to the risk of any harm to a child or another family member, and to the child's wishes.


Australia

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

GENERAL INFORMATION: Custody in Australia is referred to as "parental responsibility." Unless there is a court order to the contrary, the parents of a child are assumed to have "joint parental responsibility." A court-issued "residence" order specifies who will be the primary physical custodian of the child. A "contact" order is similar to a U.S. visitation or access order. Australian family courts adjudicate petitions on a case-by-case basis with the judge applying the "best interests of the child" standard. The amount of access allowed a non-custodial parent is also decided on a case-by-case basis, and may be denied under certain egregious circumstances. Legitimacy of the child is not a factor in a judge's determination.

From Scottish Government Sources

Australia

Australia has a federal family law and family court system in which individual states comprise separate legal jurisdictions, with the common legal principles since 1996 of shared parental responsibility and the child's best interests to govern post-separation parenting and child contact. Recent major reforms introduced a highly integrated set of family and legal services, mainly through a network of community-based government funded Family Relationship Centres acting as a single entry point to the family law and family support system. The system also includes Early Intervention Services such as family relationship counselling, mediation, education and skills training, on-line information services for parents and family violence services and Post Separation Services, including contact centres, a Contact Orders Program, Children's Contact Services and Family Dispute Resolution Services. Lawyers and courts are intended as a last resort.


From Scottish Government Sources (Interesting they picked up on the 1998 report)

Canada

The 1998 report, For the Sake of the Children, rejected a formulaic approach to dealing with contact, recognizing the diversity of family life and arguing that individualized, informal agreements made by parents were more likely to be in the child's best interests. A 2002 study, of Canadian mechanisms for contact dispute prevention, resolution and enforcement, observes that 'most separating or divorcing couples appear to resolve their access arrangements without high conflict or extensive use of the courts'. Services to support separating and divorcing couples are delivered at provincial levels, although some receive federal support. There are different and wide mixes across provinces of counseling, mediation and information, parenting plans and parenting education services available. Dispute resolution services include counseling, mediation and arbitration for access enforcement. Contact centres offer supervised or supported access. Sanctions available to the courts for access enforcement also vary, and can include civil contempt, fines, imprisonment and compensatory access.

From Scottish Government Sources

Denmark

In Denmark, divorce is dealt with as an administrative matter and there are three types of measures that aim to support children and parents in relation to child custody and/or contact: 1) The Regional Government administration deals with decisions on child custody and contact and offers free, professional, voluntary and confidential counselling to parents who disagree over custody or contact; 2) Mediation is offered free of charge to parents who disagree about custody or contact. Both parents must agree to attend and there are two mediators, one lawyer and one person with experience in child cases; and 3) meetings for children whose parents live apart, so that they can meet with other children of the same age and with similar problems. Counsellors with experience in child cases attend these meetings.

The Copenhagen Post


Legal experts are concerned that new joint parenting laws could further complicate divorce

The legal system is preparing for a rush of fathers seeking joint custody of their children when revised parenting laws go into effect next week.

The new parental law, which becomes valid on 1 October, is designed to give additional rights - and responsibilities - to both fathers and mothers.

While current, decade-old legislation requires parents to reach an agreement before joint custody is granted, the new law establishes co-parenting as the norm - even after a divorce.

Under the new rules, joint custody can only be repealed if serious concerns for a child’s safety such as abuse come to light.

The law requires that after a divorce, parents share a range of responsibilities ranging from taking children to school to ensuring the former spouse has information about school activities. Children themselves will also have more say under the legislation, as child welfare authorities will interview them on parental custody matters.

Experts are concerned, however, that the revisions could result in a flood of new law suits. Anja Cordes, chairman of the national organisation of lawyers dealing with custody cases, was a member of the committee, which drew up the law’s proposals.

She stated that although the political will was in place to establish co-parenting after a failed marriage, feuding parents might lack the ability to put their differences behind them for the good of the child.

‘It will take time before parents learn to separate parenting with partnership and to stop seeking revenge through their child,’ she told Berlingske Tidende newspaper.

She also predicted longer processing times for child welfare authorities in future cases, as parents who had lost custody cases in the past seek the chance to have their case retried.

Anette Hummelshøj, the head of Department of Family Affairs, admitted the new law could place an additional strain on the legal system.

‘But our expectation is that when the courts have established a clear line for the legal area, a higher number of parents will be able to settle either inside or outside the courts.’



The whole of the following presentation is available at the Father Knowledge Centre Europe – FKCE

Benefits of post-divorce shared parenting and the situation in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany

Presentation by Peter Tromp PhD, child and educational psychologist[1], President of the Father Knowledge Centre Europe, and Chair of the Dutch Foundation for Children, Access and Equal Parenting at the International Conference on Family and Equality “Justice and Father’s & Men’s Dignity” on 2-4 January 2009 in Drama, Greece

Download the PDF version



Let me give you some brief summaries by country on the present state of Shared Parenting Legislation in the countries of the European Union:

1. Italy now has a mix of joint legal custody and elements of joint physical custody since a law change that came into effect on 16th March 2006.

2. France has a mix of joint legal custody and elements of joint physical custody (Residence Alternee) that came into effect in 2002. An estimated 15% of French children of divorce are now growing up in shared parenting and alternating residence arrangements.

3. Belgium on the initiative of its Socialist Party now has implemented presumptive 50/50 joint physical custody legislation (effective bi-location of the children) after parental separation in both its House of Commons and Senate which came into effect when it was formally published by the Belgian Federal Government on the 4th of September 2006. The new Belgian federal law on bi-location will be discussed at more length in my presentation below.

4. In the Netherlands joint legal custody was implemented in family law by the Dutch Parliament in 1996 making joint legal custody the standard for post-divorce parental authority. And with the new Dutch Law on Continued Parenting after Separation (no. 30145), that went into effect on 1 January 2009, this was followed by the introduction in Dutch family law of the basic principle of the equality of both parents and the presumption of equal parenting (both before and after divorce or separation, and regardless of whether the parents were previously married or not). The new Dutch family law also introduces a strong incentive for separating parents to come up with a mutually agreed parenting plan during the separation and divorce proceedings.

The new Dutch law reform will be discussed at more length in my presentation below. Considering however the poor Dutch tradition on effective family law reform, the mainly decorative value of Dutch family court orders for fathers and the Dutch family court’s tradition of legislating from the bench, it still remains to be seen what this new Dutch law will bring in day-to-day family court practises for divorcing and separating parents and their children.

5. Norway still has sole physical custody but its Minister of Justice has already announced (in 2007) a complete family law review based on the principles of presumptive joint physical custody. Up until now, however, this has not yet materialized.

6. Ireland has, since the advent of Parental Equality (the Irish lobby group associated with Liam O’Gogain) circa. 1993, been considering the possibility of a change to laws of joint physical custody – which gives some gauge of the lack of seriousness with which such laws are being considered.

7. In Germany, a professional court intervention model called the Cochem model, based on principles of shared parenting, is gathering strength. This German Cochem court practice model will be discussed at more length in my presentation below. In this model parents are only allowed access to the family court for parental separation and divorce after they have themselves also filed a shared post-divorce parenting plan agreed by and between both of them. The German federal minister of Justice has previously (February 2006) announced future family law reform in which “elements of the Cochem model of multi-disciplinary court orchestrated intervention” are to be integrated into the German family law. Which elements, however, are as of yet unknown. This family law reform at the federal level has, therefore, not yet materialized.

8. Malta also has some form of shared parenting presumption according to Maltese family rights organizations. As of yet, however, it is unclear what is the exact nature of their shared parenting presumption.

9. Spain introduced a new shared parenting law in mid-2005 which is regarded as wholly inadequate by Spanish family rights lobbyists. Government officials and professionals on their own initiative are attempting to introduce policies reintegrating alienated children with their alienated parents and there is a vigorous movement for change.

10. The UK under the present Labour government has, as of yet, no effective shared parenting laws in existence. In his simultaneous presentation at the Drama Conference based on a study of the British Law Commission’s research papers Robert Whiston found that court-ordered shared parenting was commonly practiced in the south part of England in the second half of the last century until it was eliminated by the Children Act 1989 (Whiston, 2009a). At present, the oppositional Conservative Party – which is expected to win the next 2009 elections – has adopted Equal Parenting Family Law Reform as part of its election program. Also some judicially-motivated efforts to introduce norms of shared parenting do exist, in spite of the family-hostile parameters of the present law and fiscal framework.

11. Luxembourg is also said to have introduced post-divorce joint physical custody legislation.

Other jurisdictions

- Australia passed a Shared Parenting Bill in the Senate in 2006 of the window dressing sort. Australia in fact is a good example of the sort of jurisdiction that repeatedly passing pretend laws that are having no real effects on keeping both parents involved in children’s lives after parental separation. And each time it is claimed that the present law proposal will be better than the last, while children of separation continue to grow up in a family-hostile environment. The same pattern can be observed in EU-countries like the UK, the Netherlands and Spain.

- In the USA several states have implemented shared parenting legislation.

6. Recent developments in family law and family courts in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany

Family law reform in Belgium

Belgium already had a presumption of joint legal custody in its family law since the nineties of the last century.

Since September 2006 the Belgian federal law on “bi-location” or “alternating residence” also came into effect after having passed both houses in the Belgian federal parliament. This new law additionally introduced a presumption of joint physical custody, care and residency as the norm or preferred post-divorce parenting arrangement to be ordered by the Belgian family courts. Furthermore immediate unilateral court-access for either of the divorced or separated parents in requesting for additional reinforcement orders if needed was introduced.

Contrary to common belief the Belgian family law reform of September 2006 however did not introduce a 50/50 joint physical care and residency arrangement as the fixed end-result for all divorcing or separating Belgian parents. Instead it introduced a presumption of dual location or shared residency which by law should be taken into serious consideration and thorough investigation with priority in each individual case by the Belgian family courts and judges on the request of either one of the divorcing parents separately.

In the situation where both separating parents consensually forward shared residency, care and access proposals between the two of them in the divorce and separation proceedings, the law puts the Belgian family courts and judges under the obligation to accept those mutually consented proposals as leading in the court-orders to be subsequently imposed in the divorce and separation proceedings.

In effect the wishes with regard to the post-divorce residency, care and access arrangements of either parent parties involved were thus again acknowledged and reinstated at the core of Belgian family law and family court proceedings regarding physical custody, residency and care. By law Belgian family court judges were endowed with the obligation to explicitly specify in their court-orders their decisions and provisions with regard to the imposed post-divorce residence and care arrangements in writing if they were to deviate from the presumptive and preferred bi-location or shared parenting arrangement in their court-orders.

These new Belgian law provisions have put shared parenting at the forefront of the family courts decision-making regarding the care, access and residency of the children involved, while the need and obligation imposed by law on the Belgian family courts and judges to extensively specify in writing in their imposed court-orders as to why a shared parenting or bi-location order was not imposed, opens the possibility for appeal of the courts decisions and motivations.

A further additional but underestimated new element of the Belgian family law reform is the introduction of immediate or priority access to the courts and judges on the request of either one of the parties one-sidedly. This can be activated unilaterally and individually – without the need of being represented by a lawyer at the court-session requested for – for additional reinforcement orders of the court when the court-ordered parenting arrangements were not sufficiently complied with by the other parent and when there were complaints about the other parent with regard to abiding by the specific parenting arrangements laid down by the judge in the original case residency, care and access order(s) given.

Although the law, as a federal national framework, has been in effect for only 2,5 years – and so it is too early to evaluate its effects thoroughly – first impressions are that it has contributed strongly to the Kantian appeasement between divorcing and separating parents in Belgium. This contributes to both the leading civil and family law principle of appeasement between conflicting parties as well as to the best interest of the children involved who now flourish far better under the care of the appeased but separated parents.


Family law reform in the Netherlands

In 1996 joint legal custody (in Dutch: gezamenlijk gezag) was implemented by law by the Dutch Parliament making joint legal custody the standard for post-divorce parenting in the Netherlands to oblige with EVRM Article 8 on the Right to Family Life.

However, shortly after the introduction of the law, the family courts in conjunction with the Dutch High Court neutralised the Dutch Parliament’s specific intent for a law by to keep both parents involved in children’s lives.

Perversely, the judiciary undermined Parliament’s sovereignty by stating that joint legal custody could be awarded but that it did not automatically entitle fathers to contact and access arrangements.

Over the past few years the Dutch Parliament has taken several new initiatives to introduce joint physical custody and equal parenting as the legal presumption for post-divorce parenting arrangements.

The first attempt was the legal initiative on administrative divorce (divorce without the use of a court and representing lawyers) and continued parenting, No. 29676 by parliament in 2004 (Luchtenveld, 2004), better known as the Luchtenveld-proposal [5]. It passed the Dutch House of Commons in the winter of 2005 only to be left stranded in the Dutch Senate in the summer of 2006. This however was mainly caused by the “Administrative Divorce” part of the law being contradictory to lawyers’ interests, which hit on heavy resistance with the Dutch judiciary[6].

Another new attempt for family law reform, better known as the “Donner-proposal”, was then made on the initiative of the Ministry of Justice with the Law on Continued Parenting after Separation (No. 30145). This law while it passed in the Dutch House of Commons in June 2006, on the initiative of the Dutch Socialist Party was unexpectedly altered by a constitutional majority amendment introducing equal parenting as the presumption for post-divorce parenting. On November 25th 2008 this law passed the Dutch Senate. It went into effect two days ago on January 1st 2009.

This new law has the following main positive features with regard to shared parenting arrangements and the reinforcement of parenting orders by the Dutch family courts:

  • It introduces and aims to guarantee in Dutch family law the basic principle of equality for both parents and the presumption of equal parenting both before and after divorce or separation, and regardless of whether the parents were previously married or not.
  • It introduces a strong incentive for parents to come up with a mutually agreed parenting plan during the separation and divorce proceedings.
  • Adding new but complicated reinforcement possibilities to the toolbox of options available to judges to ensure compliance with court-ordered parenting arrangements.

However, the law also has some distinctly negative features for shared parenting as it once again re-opens the possibilities for the family courts to deviate from the Parliamentary default presumption of joint legal custody. This could give rise to new ways and new reasons for a court to exclude a father from parenting his children. For a more detailed account of the features in the new Dutch family law on parenting after divorce however I further refer to the Appendix A with this presentation.


Reforms in Germany – The Cochem court-practice model

Several years ago a family court judge Jurgen Rudolph – based in the German regional family court of Cochem was confronted time and again with two equally capable parents. Both were forced to fight each other – almost to the death – in adversarial court proceedings. His radical solution will be detailed later in this paper.

Also in Germany a post-divorce presumption of joint legal custody was already in effect in family law since 1998, when several years ago the family court judge Jurgen Rudolph (Rudolph, 2007) – residing at the German regional family court of the city and district of Cochem – in his courtroom bench was confronted with capable parents fighting each other with the help of their lawyers (and to the detriment of their children) over post-divorce arrangements concerning the residency, care and access over their children and demanding from him as the judge to decide in favour of either of them. Parents and lawyers from both sides seemed to be only involved in painting their adversarial ‘opponents’ as black and incapable as possible during the divorce proceedings in the family court.

The position family court Judge Jurgen Rudolph took in this was that he considered post-divorce physical custody arrangements between principally fit and capable parents not to be a standard-decision for the family court and himself as the family judge to make and decide on by default over the heads of either one of the parents. On the basis of the lawfully existing care-obligation in Germany for both parents to care for their children the making of physical custody arrangements over their children had by default to be considered primarily as a matter of responsibility for both the divorcing parents themselves to decide on in the first place.

Resulting from the in-fights between parents and their lawyers taking place in adversarial divorce proceedings, the regional family court of Cochem then experimented by changing its family court practises. In the new family court practice divorcing parents were strongly encouraged by the court to first come up themselves with a mutually and consensually agreed “parenting plan” for the residency, care and access to and over their children, as a mandatory precondition before being able to enter and finalise their divorce settlements in the Cochem family court.

As the parents now needed to come up with a mutually agreed parenting plan or parenting arrangement proposal, this mandatory demand of the court both not only resulted in a reinstatement of the equal level playing field and cooperation between the parents looking for divorce (instead of the previous court practises magnifying the differences and conflicts between the parents). But equally important, it also lead to a complete practise overhaul within the professions involved in the divorce proceedings in the family court.

Instead of aggravating the parents in their conflict, all professions, i.e. lawyers, social workers, youth welfare workers, etc., began cooperating with each other in order to offer mediatory and other support services and help to the divorcing parents who were in demand of support in making the parenting plan needed in order to finalise their divorce proceedings. In time, the cooperation between professionals evolved from cooperation on the individual case levels to a more structured network cooperation of the involved professions around the Cochem family court.

These changes in Cochem court practises and the resulting changes in practises by the surrounding professionals in the meantime have earned wide recognition in Germany and are nationally referred to in Germany as the Cochem court practises (in German: Cochemer Praxis) or the Cochem model (in German: Cochemer Modell). They are now also taken into evaluation and consideration in a future planned reform of family law by the German federal ministry of justice in Berlin.


Comparing Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany

The separate developments in these three European countries are interesting because of their convergence. In Belgium and the Netherlands developments have started top-down so to speak from the national or federal political-legislational level with the introduction of a new family law creating a national framework and new guidelines for the functioning of the family courts. While in Germany these same developments started not top-down but bottom-up from the family courts themselves experimenting with less adversarial proceedings and court practises regarding post-divorce residency, care and access arrangements and orders.

Of the law reforms in these three European countries the Belgian law reform on bi-location is to be regarded as the most clear-cut in its choice for shared parenting. The family law developments in the three European countries discussed however all share in their emphasis a distinctive shift towards implementing the concept of shared parenting and restoring an equal level playing field between both divorcing parents in family law and/or family court practises as opposed to the previous mother-only single parenting presumption that has dominated family law and family court practises in the countries of the European Union for so long.

Belgium - A 'template' for Shared Parenting - 'Dads on the Air' shows that the UK is not the only country where separated fathers experience problems. This Australian radio interview finds out how fathers in Belgium managed to overcome the obstacles to reform and implement the first laws in favour of shared parenting.



United States

Joint Custody (Shared Parenting) Overview

Source: http://crckids.org/joint-custody.htm

See below for the wording of each State's Law.

  • DELAWARE
  • DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
  • FLORIDA
  • IDAHO
  • LOUISIANA
  • MONTANA
  • NEW MEXICO
  • TEXAS

The following are some of the best relevant statutes from states which provide a strong preference for joint custody:

  • ALASKA
  • CALIFORNIA
  • KANSAS
  • MICHIGAN
  • MINNESOTA
  • MISSISSIPPI
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE

The following two states have case law which make joint custody a preference:

  • GEORGIA
  • KENTUCKY

DELAWARE:

Title 13, Chapter 7, Subchapter I, 701. Rights and responsibilities of parents; guardian appointment.

(a) The father and mother are the joint natural custodians of their minor child and are equally charged with the child’s support, care, nurture, welfare and education. Each has equal powers and duties with respect to such child, and neither has any right, or presumption of right or fitness, superior to the right of the other concerning such child’s custody or any other matter affecting the child. If either parent should die, or abandon his or her family, or is incapable, for any reason, to act as guardian of such child, then the custody or such child devolves upon the other parent. Where the parents live apart, the Court may award the custody of their minor child to either of them and neither shall benefit from any presumption of being better suited for such award.

back to top

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:

D.C. Code 16-911. Alimony pendente lite; suit money; enforcement; custody of children. (a)(5) and 16-914. Retention of jurisdiction as to alimony and custody of children. (a)(2)

… Unless the court determines that it is not in the best interest of the child, the court may issue an order that provides for frequent and continuing contact between each parent and the minor child or children and for the sharing of responsibilities of child-rearing and encouraging the love, affection, and contact between the minor child or children and the parents regardless of marital status. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that joint custody is in the best interest of the child or children, except in instances where a judicial officer has found by a preponderance of the evidence that an intrafamily offense as defined in D.C. Code section 16-1001(5), an instance of child abuse as defined in section 102 of the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Act of 1977, effective September 23, 1977 (D.C. Law 2-22; D.C. Code 6 (2101), an instance of child neglect as defined in section 2 of the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Children’s Trust Fund Act of 1993, effective October 5, 1993 (D.C. Law 10-56; D.C. Code 6-2131), or where parental kidnapping as defined in D.C. Code section 16-1021 through section 16-1026 has occurred… To determine the best interest of the child, for the purpose of making a joint or sole custody determination, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to:

  • the willingness of the parents to share custody;
  • the sincerity of each parent's request;
  • the parent's ability to financially support a custody arrangement;
  • the impact on Aid to Families with Dependent Children and medical assistance;
  • the benefit to the parents;

D.C. Code 16-911(2)(A) In any custody proceeding under this chapter, the court may order each parent to submit a detailed parenting plan which shall delineate each parent's position with respect to the scheduling and allocation of rights and responsibilities that will best serve the interest of the minor child or children....

(D) The court may also order either or both parents to attend parenting classes.

(3) Joint custody shall not eliminate the responsibility for child support in accordance with the applicable child support guideline as set forth in section 16-916.1.

back to top

FLORIDA:

Title VI, Chapter 61, 61.13. Custody and support of children; visitation rights; power of court in making orders.

5(2)(b)...It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of childrearing....

2. The court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child....

3.(3) For purposes of shared parental responsibility and primary residence, the best interests of the child shall include an evaluation of all factors affecting the welfare and interests of the child, including but not limited to:

(a) The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the nonresidential parent.

(c) The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in lieu of medical care, and other material needs.

(j) The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.

(4)(c) When a custodial parent refuses to honor a noncustodial parent's visitation rights without proper cause, the court may:

1. After calculating the amount of visitation improperly denied, award the noncustodial parent a sufficient amount of extra visitation to compensate the noncustodial parent, which visitation shall be taken as expeditiously as possible in a manner which does not interfere with the best interests of the child: or

2. Award the custody or primary residence to the noncustodial parent, upon the request of the noncustodial parent, if the award in the best interests of the child.

back to top

IDAHO:

Title 32, Chapter 7, 32-717B. Joint custody.

(1) "Joint custody" means an order awarding custody of the minor child or children to both parents and providing that physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way as to assure the child or children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents... If the court declines to enter an order awarding joint custody, the court shall state in its decision the reason for denial of an award of joint custody.

(2) "joint physical custody" means an order awarding each of the parents significant periods of time in which a child resides with or is under the care and supervision of each of the parents or parties.

(4) Except as provided in subsection (5), of the section, absent a preponderance of the evidence to the contrary, there shall be a presumption that joint custody is in the best interest of a minor child or children.

(5) There shall be a presumption that joint custody is not in the best interests of a minor child if one (1) of the parents is found by the court to be a habitual perpetrator of domestic violence as defined in section 39-6303, Idaho Code.

Section 1 of S.L. 1982. ch. 311 read: "Policy statement. It is the policy of this state that joint custody is a mechanism to assure children of continuing and frequent care and contact with both parents provided joint custody is in the best interest of said children."

back to top

LOUISIANA:

Civil Code, Section 3,

Article 131. Court to determine custody. A. If there are children of the marriage whose provisional custody is claimed by both husband and wife, the suit being yet pending and undecided, custody shall be awarded in the following order of preference, according to the best interest of the children:

(1) To both parents jointly. The court shall, unless waived by the court for good cause shown, require the parents to submit a plan for implementation of the custody order, or the parents acting individually or in concert may submit a custody implementation plan to the court prior to issuance of a custody decree. A plan of implementation shall allocate the time periods each parent shall enjoy physical custody of the children and the legal authority, privileges and responsibilities of the parents....

(2) To either parent. In making an order for custody to either parent, the court shall consider, among other factors, which parent is more likely to allow the child or children frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent, and shall not prefer a parent as custodian because of that parent's sex or race. The burden of proof that joint custody would not be in a child's best interest shall be upon the parent requesting sole custody.

D. For purposes of this Article, "joint custody" shall mean the parents shall, to the extent feasible, share the physical custody of children of the marriage... Physical care and custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way as to assure a child of frequent and continuing contact, with both parents. An award of joint custody obligates the parties to exchange information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the minor child; and, unless allocated, apportioned, or decreed, the parents or parties shall confer with one another in the exercise of decision- making rights, responsibilities, and authority.

E. ... The court shall state in its decision the reasons for modification or termination of the joint custody order if either parent opposes the modification or termination order.

ARTICLE 132. AWARD OF CUSTODY TO PARENTS

In the absence of agreement, or if the agreement is not in the best interest of the child, the court shall award custody to the parents jointly; however, if custody in one parent is shown by clear and convincing evidence to serve the best interest of the child, the court shall award custody to that parent.

SUBPART B. JOINT CUSTODY

335 Joint custody decree and implementation order. A. (1) In a proceeding in which joint custody is decreed, the court shall render a joint custody implementation order except for good cause shown.

(2)(a) The implementation order shall allocate the time periods during which each parent shall have physical custody of the child so that the child is assured of frequent and continuing contact with both parents.

(b) To the extent it is feasible and in the best interest of the child, physical custody of the children should be shared equally... B. (1) In a decree of joint custody the court shall designate a domiciliary parent....

(2) The domiciliary parent is the parent with whom the child shall primarily reside….

(3) The domiciliary parent shall have authority to make all decisions affecting the child unless an implementation order provides otherwise....

C. If a domiciliary parent is not designated in the joint custody decree and an implementation order does not provide otherwise, joint custody confers upon the parents the same rights and responsibilities as are conferred on them by the provisions of Title VII of Book I of the Civil Code.

back to top

MONTANA:

MONTANA: Title 40, Chapter 4, Part 2. Support, Custody, Visitation, and Related Provisions

40-4-224. Joint custody -- modification -- consultation with professionals

(1) Upon application of either parent or both parents for joint custody, the court shall presume joint custody is in the best interest of a minor child unless the court finds, under the factors set forth in 40-4-212, that joint custody is not in the best interest of the minor child. If the court declines to enter an order awarding joint custody, the court shall state in its decision the reasons for denial of an award of joint custody. Objection to joint custody by a parent seeking sole custody is not a sufficient basis for a finding that joint custody is not in the best interest of a child, nor is a finding that the parents are hostile to each other. However, a finding that one parent physically abused the other parent or the child is a sufficient basis for finding that joint custody is not in the best interest of the child.

(2) For the purposes of this section, "joint custody" means an order awarding custody of the minor child to both parents and providing that the physical custody and residency of the child shall be allotted between the parents in such a way as to assure the child frequent and continuing contact with both parents. The allotment of time between the parents must be as equal as possible; however;

(a) each case shall be determined according to its own practicalities, with the best interest of the child as the primary consideration; and

(b) when allotting time between the parents, the court shall consider the effect of the time allotment on the stability and continuity of the child's education.

back to top

NEW MEXICO:

Chapter 40, 40-4-9.1 Joint custody; standards for determination; parenting plan.

A. There shall be a presumption that joint custody is in the best interest of a child in an initial custody determination....

F. When joint custody is awarded, the court shall approve a parenting plan for the implementation of the prospective custody arrangement prior to the award of joint custody. The parenting plan shall include a division of a child's time and care into periods of responsibility for each parent....

G. Where custody is contested, the court shall refer that issue to mediation if feasible.

I. Whenever a request for joint custody is granted or denied, the court shall state in its decision its basis for granting or denying the request for joint custody. A statement that joint custody is or is not in the best interest of the child is not sufficient to meet the requirements of this subsection.

J. An award of joint custody means that:

(1) each parent shall have significant, well-defined periods of responsibility for the child;

(2) each parent shall have, and be allowed and expected to responsibility for the child's financial, physical, emotional and developmental needs during that parent's periods of responsibility;

(3) the parents shall consult with each other on major decisions involving the child before implementing those decisions; that is, neither parent shall make a decision or take an action which results in a major change in a child's life until the matter has been discussed with the other parent and the parents agree. If the parents, after discussion, cannot agree and if one parent wishes to effect a major change while the other does not wish the major change to occur, then no change shall occur until the issue has been resolved as provided in this subsection.

back to top

TEXAS:

153.131 Presumption that Parent to be Appointed Managing Conservator

(a) Unless the court finds that appointment of the parent or parents would not be in the best interest of the child because the appointment would significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional development, a parent shall be appointed sole managing conservator or both parents shall be appointed as joint managing conservators of the child.

(b) It is a rebuttable presumption that the appointment of the parents of a child as joint managing conservators is in the best interest of the child.

back to top

The following are some of the best relevant statutes from states which provide a strong preference for joint custody:

ALASKA:

ALASKA: Title 25, Chapter 20

Sec. 25.20.100 Reasons for denial to be set out.

If a parent or the guardian ad litem requests shared custody of a child and the court denies the request, the reasons for the denial shall be stated on the record.

back to top

CALIFORNIA:

CALIFORNIA: Family Code Section

3040. Order of preference.

(a) Custody should be granted in the following order of preference according to the best interest of the child as provided in 3911: (1) To both parents jointly pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with 3080) or to either parent. In making an order granting custody to either parent, the court shall consider, among other factors, which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent, subject to 3011, and shall not prefer a parent as custodian because of that parent's sex.

3080. Presumption of joint custody.

There is a presumption, affecting the burden of proof, that joint custody is in the best interest of a minor child, subject to 3011, where the parents have agreed to joint custody or so agree in open court at a hearing for the purpose of determining the custody of the minor child.

3082. Statement of reasons for grant or denial.

When a request for joint custody is granted or denied, the court, upon the request of any party, shall state in its decision the reasons for granting or denying the request. A statement that joint physical custody is, or is not, in the best interest of the child is not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of this section. IOWA: Title XV, Subtitle 1, Chapter 598

598.41 Custody of children

1.a. The court, insofar as is reasonable and in the best interest of the child, shall order the custody award, including liberal visitation rights where appropriate, which will assure the child the opportunity for the maximum continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved the marriage, and which will encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child unless direct physical harm or significant emotional harm to the child, other children, or a parent is likely to result from such contact with one parent.

c. The court shall consider the denial by one parent of the child's opportunity for maximum continuing contact with the other parent, without just cause, a significant factor in determining the proper custody arrangement.

2.b. If the court does not grant joint custody under this subsection, the court shall cite clear and convincing evidence, pursuant to the factors in subsection 3, that joint custody is unreasonable and not in the best interest of the child to the extent that the legal custodial relationship between the child and the parent should be severed.

back to top

KANSAS:

KANSAS: Chapter 60, Article 16

60-1610. Decree; authorized orders. Neither parent shall be considered to have a vested interest in the custody or residency of any child as against the other parent, regardless of the age of the child, and there shall be no presumption that it is in the best interests of any infant or young child to give custody or residency to the mother.

(4) Types of custodial arrangements. Subject to the provisions of this article, the court may make any order relating to custodial arrangements which is in the best interests of the child. The order shall include but not be limited to, one of the following, in the order of preference:

(A) Joint custody. The court may place the custody of a child with both parties on a shared or joint-custody basis. In that event, the parties shall have equal rights to make decisions in the best interests of the child under their custody. When a child is placed in the joint custody of the child's parents, the court may further determine that the residency of the child shall be divided either in an equal manner with regard to time of residency or on the basis of a primary residency arrangement for the child. The court, in its discretion, may require the parents to submit a plan for implementation of a joint custody order upon finding that both parents are suitable parents or the parents, acting individually or in concert, may submit a custody implementation plan to the court prior to issuance of a custody decree. If the court does not order joint custody, it shall include in the record the specific findings of fact upon which the order for custody other than joint custody is based.

(B) Sole custody....

(C) Divided custody.... (two or more children)

(D) Nonparental custody....

back to top

MICHIGAN:

Chapter 722 Sec. 6a. (1) In custody disputes between parents, the parents shall be advised of joint custody. At the request of either parent, the court shall consider an award of joint custody, and shall on the record the reasons for granting or denying a request.

back to top

MINNESOTA:

Chapter 518

518.17 Custody and support of children on judgment

The court must make detailed findings on each of the factors and explain how the factors led to its conclusions and to the determination of the best interests of he child.

The court shall use a rebuttable presumption that upon request of either or both parties, joint legal custody is in the best interests of the child.

back to top

MISSISSIPPI:

MISSISSIPPI: Title 93, Chapter 5

93-5-24. Types of custody awarded by court;joint custody;access to information pertaining to child by noncustodial parent.

(1)Custody may be awarded as follows according to the best interests of the child:

(a)Physical and legal custody to both parents jointly pursuant to subsections 2 through 7.

(b) Physical custody to both parents jointly pursuant to subsections 2 through 7 and legal custody to either parent.

(c) Legal custody to both parents jointly pursuant to subsections 2 through 7 and physical custody to either parent.

(d) Physical and legal custody to either parent.

back to top

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Title XLIII, Chapter 458

458:17 Support and Custody of Children

II. Except as provided in subparagraph (c), in the making of any order relative to such custody there shall be a presumption, affecting the burden of proof, that joint legal custody is in the best interest of minor children:

(a) Where the parents have agreed.... If the court declines to enter an order awarding joint legal custody, the court shall state in its decision the reasons for denial of an award of joint legal custody.

(b) Upon the application of either parent....

back to top

The following two states have case law which make joint custody a preference:

GEORGIA:

GEORGIA: Court of Appeals of Georgia, Case No. A93A0698, 7/2/93 IN the INTEREST of A.R.B., a child

In a unanimous opinion, presiding Judge Dorothy T. Beasley stated: Although the dispute is symbolized by a 'versus' which signifies two adverse parties at opposite poles of a line, there is in fact a third party whose interests and rights make of the line a triangle. That person, the child who is not an official party to the lawsuit but whose wellbeing is in the eye of the controversy, has a right to shared parenting when both are equally suited to provide it. Inherent in the express public policy is a recognition of the child's right to equal access and opportunity with both parents, the right to be guided and nurtured by both parents, the right to have major decisions made by the application of both parents' wisdom, judgment and experience. The child does not forfeit these rights when the parents divorce.

The A.R.B. case was subsequently heard by the Supreme Court of Georgia, which upheld the Court of Appeals' finding that, according to public policy of Georgia, joint custody was in the best interests of children when both parents are fit.

back to top

KENTUCKY:

KENTUCKY: Chalupa v. Chalupa, Kentucky Court of Appeals, No. 90-CA-001145-MR; (May 1, 1992).

Judge Schroder, writing for the majority:

A divorce from a spouse is not a divorce from their children, nor should custody decisions be used as a punishment. Joint custody can benefit the children, the divorced parents, and society in general by having both parents involved in the children's upbringing.... The difficult and delicate nature of deciding what is in the best interest of the child leads this Court to interpret the child's best interest as requiring a trial court to consider joint custody first, before the more traumatic sole custody. In finding a preference for joint custody is in the best interest of the child, even in a bitter divorce, the court is encouraging the parents to cooperate with each other and to stay on their best behavior. Joint custody can be modified if a party is acting in bad faith or is uncooperative. The trial court at amy time can review joint custody and if a party is being unreasonable, modify the custody to sole custody in favor of the reasonable parent. Surely, with the stakes so high, there would be more cooperation which leads to the child's best interest, the parents' best interest, fewer court appearances and judicial economy. Starting out with sole custody would deprive one parent of the vital input.

Source: http://www.ancpr.com/joint_custody_laws_in_the_united.htm

The work of Fathers 4 Justice and the Pain of Fathers ~ Activism in the UK

Equal and Shared Parenting ~ The Movie