Sunday

The Primary Parent Myth and Family Courts

It’s often said divorce brings out the worst in people. This is undoubtedly true, but in many cases well-meaning judges often inadvertently make a bad situation worse.

Two recent cases illustrate this problem. In the first case, a stay-at-home mother in a small town had an extra-marital affair, which led her husband to file for divorce. Their neighbors ostracized the mother to such an extent she decided to move 150 miles away and take the kids with her. The father, who had been an active part of the kids’ lives, understandably didn’t want this to happen since he would now see his children only infrequently. 

While the judge was very troubled by the facts before the court, the mother was allowed to move and take the kids with her. Not only will the kids now see their father only infrequently, they also were uprooted from the only home they had known as well as from their schools, friends and extended family. The judge’s decision relied heavily on the fact that the mother had been a stay-at-home mother and, in the judge’s eyes, had historically been the “primary” parent.
Equal Parents - 2015In the second case, a military father deployed overseas returned home to discover his wife engaged in an extra-marital affair. He filed for divorce and, even though he had been an active parent, the court awarded sole custody of his children to his ex-wife. He now sees his children only every-other-weekend. The judge in this case also based his decision on the notion that the mother had historically been the “primary” parent.


Many people are troubled by these cases because it appears the guilty party was rewarded and the innocent parties wronged. The initial outcomes certainly seem unfair. However, this isn’t the worst part of these decisions. Not only are the initial outcomes unfair, these decisions put the children at risk for very negative long-term consequences.

Children affected by divorce fare worse, on average, on nearly every measure of health and emotional well-being including a greater risk of academic problems, alcohol and drug use, poor social skills, depression and suicide, delinquency and incarceration, and poorer physical health and early mortality. The reason for all this has much to do with the fact that one of the two most important people in a child’s life is often relegated to the role of an infrequent visitor, as the above examples illustrate.

This problem may have far-reaching repercussions for all of us. Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook school shooter, is reported to have gone downhill when divorce separated him from his father. One leading researcher calls this issue “a serious public health problem.”

These cases are based on the myth that one parent is the primary parent. Judges often decide cases this way even though there is no legal or mental health basis for it. 

More than three dozen studies over the past 20 years have found that when both parents are loving and competent, which is the case most of the time, a shared parenting arrangement -- with joint decision making and near-equal parenting time -- provide the best outcomes for their children.

This myth seems to have arisen from a legal presumption called the “approximation rule,” which was proposed more than 20 years ago and eventually rejected. 

Nonetheless, many lawyers, psychologists and judges still follow it because of its superficial neutrality and simplicity. Like many simplistic solutions, however, it’s simply wrong.

Besides creating bad outcomes for children, the approximation rule also encourages the very thing it originally hoped to prevent -- parental conflict. This pernicious myth is so destructive that many states have now moved away from it.
In Arizona, for example, that state’s custody law previously allowed judges to consider “whether one parent, both parents or neither parent has provided primary care of the child” when making custody decisions. The Arizona legislature has repealed this language and now directs courts to maximize the parenting time of both parents whenever possible.

In Nebraska, unfortunately, sole custody is still the norm. Mothers are awarded sole physical custody in 62 percent of cases and fathers in 10 percent of cases. Joint custody is awarded in only 25 percent of Nebraska divorces.

There is no legal or medical basis for the primary parent myth. Scientific research shows that every-other-weekend parenting time arrangements are harmful to children, yet they still are ordered routinely in many cases. The Legislature should stop this public health crisis and make shared parenting the norm in Nebraska as it has become in other states.
Dr. Les Veskrna is a family physician and executive director of the Children’s Rights Council of Nebraska


January 12, 2013 11:57 pm  •  


https://www.causes.com/posts/793265-fatherlessness-is-a-growing-crisis-in-america-take-the-presidents-fatherhood-pledge
Posted by Childrens Rights Florida on Monday, September 14, 2015
Let's Join The Purple Keyboard Campaign((Activate :2015))4 Family Justice Reform! FOR Dads Who Want To See Their Kids...
Posted by Childrens Rights Florida on Monday, September 14, 2015

A lie cannot live.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.

Shop Amazon from here. Thanks for your support!

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

“Changing a child last name (away from the father’s) is an act of venom”

The time is always right to do what is right.

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Search This Blog

Loading...

Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.

Abuse (7) Abuse of process (4) Admission to practice law (3) Adversarial system (83) Advocacy group (3) Alimony (7) All Pro Dad (1) All rights reserved (1) Allegation (2) Alliance for Justice (2) American Civil Liberties Union (3) American Psychological Association (1) Americans (2) Anecdotal evidence (2) Arrest (1) Bar association (1) Best interests (42) Bill (law) (1) British Psychological Society (1) Broward County (1) Broward County Public Schools (2) Catholic Church (1) Center for Public Integrity (2) Chief judge (26) Child Abuse (48) Child custody (76) Child development (6) Child neglect (2) Child protection (14) Child Protective Services (19) Child Support (63) Children (3) Children's Rights (81) Christmas (3) Circuit court (3) Civil and political rights (14) Civil law (common law) (1) Civil liberties (9) Civil Rights (145) Civil rights movement (1) Class action (1) Communist Party of Cuba (1) Confidentiality (1) Constitutional law (1) Constitutional right (5) Contact (law) (11) Contempt of court (4) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (1) Coparenting (27) Copyright (1) Copyright infringement (1) Corruption (1) Court Enabled PAS (93) Court order (2) Cuba (1) Cuban Missile Crisis (1) Cuban Revolution (1) Custodial Parent (1) Declaratory judgment (3) Denial of Reasonable Parent-Child Contact (111) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2) Divorce (121) Divorce Corp (6) Divorce Court (1) Documentary (25) Domestic Violence (49) Dr. Stephen Baskerville (5) Dred Scott v. Sandford (1) DSM-5 (1) DSM-IV Codes (1) Due Process (45) Due Process Clause (1) Dwyane Wade (1) Equal-time rule (2) Ethics (1) Events (10) Exposé (group) (1) Facebook (19) Fair use (1) False accusation (4) False Accusations (57) Family (1) Family (biology) (2) Family Court (196) Family Law (112) Family Law Reform (119) Family Rights (87) Family therapy (10) Father (12) Father figure (2) Father's Day (1) Father's Rights (12) Fatherhood (106) Fatherlessness Epidemic (4) Fathers 4 Justice (3) Fathers' rights movement (44) Fidel Castro (1) Florida (213) Florida Attorney General (7) Florida Circuit Courts (18) florida lawyers (30) Florida Legislature (5) Florida Senate (10) Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1) Fraud (1) Free Speech (1) Frivolous litigation (1) Fundamental rights (12) Gainesville (1) Gender equality (1) Government Accountability Project (2) Government interest (2) Grandparent (3) Havana (1) Healthy Children (14) Human Rights (117) I Love My Daughter (56) I Love My Son (8) Injunction (1) Innocence Project (1) Investigative journalism (1) Jason Patric (2) JavaScript (1) Joint custody (8) Joint custody (United States) (16) Judge (5) Judge Judy (7) Judge Manno-Schurr (56) Judicial Accountability (103) Judicial Immunity (7) Judicial misconduct (8) Judicial Reform (3) Judicial Watch (2) Judiciary (3) Jury trial (1) Kids for cash scandal (1) Law (2) Lawsuit (9) Lawyer (8) Legal Abuse (150) Liar Joel Greenberg (17) Linda Gottlieb (1) Litigant in person (1) Little Havana (1) Marriage (6) Matt O'Connor (1) Men's rights movement (1) Mental disorder (1) Mental health (2) Meyer v. Nebraska (1) Miami (43) Miami-Dade County (8) Miami-Dade County Public Schools (1) Miscarriage of justice (42) Mother (4) Motion of no confidence (1) Movie (4) Music (8) Nancy Schaefer (1) National Fatherhood Initiative (1) Natural and legal rights (1) News (90) Nixa Maria Rose (17) Non-governmental organization (1) Noncustodial parent (3) Organizations (60) Palm Beach County (1) Parent (34) Parental Alienation (116) Parental alienation syndrome (14) Parental Rights (35) Parenting (11) Parenting plan (5) Parenting time (6) Parents' rights movement (36) Paternity (law) (1) Personal Story (23) Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1) Pope (1) Posttraumatic stress disorder (27) President of Cuba (1) Pro Se (30) Pro se legal representation in the United States (3) Prosecutor (1) Protest (1) Psychologist (1) Public accommodations (1) Public Awareness (108) Raúl Castro (1) Re-Post/Re-Blog (12) Research (1) Restraining order (4) Rick Scott (10) Self Representation-Pro Se (31) Sexism (1) Sexual abuse (2) Sexual assault (1) Shared Parenting (90) Single parent (6) Skinner v. Oklahoma (1) Social Issues (60) Social Media (1) Spanish (8) Stand Up For Zoraya (48) State school (1) Student (1) Supreme Court of Florida (7) Supreme Court of the United States (5) Tampa (1) Testimony (23) Thanksgiving (2) The Florida Bar (7) Trauma (4) Troxel v. Granville (2) True Story (21) Turner v. Rogers (1) United States (24) United States Congress (1) United States Constitution (1) United States Department of Justice (4) Videos (51) Violence Against Women Act (1) Whistle-blower (3)