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American Coalition for
Fathers and Children

Shared Parenting - Children Need Both Parents

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Celebrity Custody Issues Demonstrate Need for Shared Parenting

Dear Michael;

At ACFC our priority continues to be working toward the adoption of Shared Parenting as the de facto result for parents who are separated from their children as a result of divorce or unmarried parentage. By this we mean simply that parents, regardless of their marital status, will be able to adopt parenting arrangements which are mutually agreeable to both parties. If the parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan, there will be a rebuttable presumption favoring an equal allocation of both decision making responsibility and time sharing.

As stated for 15 years in the ACFC Mission Statement – “We believe when parents are given equal rights, equal responsibility follows; when parents have equal access to their children and support levels are reasonable and reflect the true cost of raising a child, parents will comply with court orders.” Here is the entire mission statement.

Public Support – New Research

Psychology, Public Policy and Law, a journal of the American Psychological Association has recently published an article titled: 'Lay Judgments About Child Custody After Divorce.' For those who’ve been paying attention over the past fifteen years it comes as no surprise that the public overwhelmingly supports outcomes allowing children to spend equal amounts of time with both parents after divorce. It will also come as no surprise that the public believes the courts are biased toward mothers in awarding custody.

Dr. William ‘Bill’ Fabricius is one of the study’s authors. Earlier this month Dr. Fabricius participated in a Family Dynamics Roundtable hosted by Senator Ann Cools of Canada. He was kind enough to share his notes from the presentation. His discussion of the research supporting parental equality, health outcomes for children of divorce and judicial attitudes toward custody is timely, refreshing and eye opening. It provides further evidence that all our collective efforts to improve family law are supported in the research. Our efforts to align policy, statutes, practice and research into a cohesive scheme that best serves our families are bearing fruit. Based on our observations we believe significant positive movement in family law is inevitable. You can purchase the Journal article at the above link, but we think you’ll be just as pleased with what you find in these presentation notes. If you have an active case, use them to show the court your child needs time, a lot of it, with you.

Celebrity Divorces and Shared Parenting

Tonight on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ country music singer Sara Evans will be singing her new hit titled “A Little Bit Stronger.” The song is supposedly about her recovery from her divorce. Last week in a courthouse in Franklin, TN. Craig Schelske, Sara’s former husband of thirteen years was trying to get a “little bit more time” with the children he fathered with Sara. After a very public and nasty divorce Craig ended up with the ‘standard’ visitation order. Recently Craig also ended up with an apology and settlement from Sara’s attorney for comments he made about Craig in a People magazine article.

Sara is headed out on tour and Craig would like to have more parenting time with the kids this summer. Craig thinks his kids would be better off with him than on a tour bus.

Craig wants Shared Parenting, read his comments to us in this article prior to last week’s hearing. All Sara needs to do is say OK, instead the case is back in court, again. Sara….say it ain’t so. This situation is just another illustration, as if more were necessary, of a good father being relegated to visitor status in the life of his children. It’s further evidence of the need to reform family law.

The Arnold and Maria Saga

Last week we wrote a bit about Arnold Schwarznegger’s disclosure of a child he had with the family housekeeper. On Friday afternoon this Associated Press story, quoting ACFC’s Mike McCormick appeared in newspapers nationwide. The Schwarznegger case demonstrates some of the dicey legal issues surrounding paternity today. As McCormick noted; “From a legal perspective, Arnold Schwarznegger had nothing to do with the creation of this child.”

Our comments in cases like these two are designed to focus attention on the need for family law improvements. We’d like your opinion on what you think should happen in the Schwarznegger situation should he and Maria divorce. Please respond to this brief survey and share your opinions.

There are several ways you can help us continue these efforts. First, please make a contribution. Then forward this message to a friend. If you’d like to volunteer with the ACFC please fill out this survey. Thanks again for your efforts to reform and improve family law.

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ACFC