December 6, 2018:

Dear Gene,

"Do you choose the lawyers, or do you choose the public? I say: Choose neither! Choose the children!"

Well said!

Daniel Romano, Avocat / Attorney

Kalman Samuels, Q.C. & Assoc. Inc.

December 3, 2018:

"(i.e. even marginally fit parents are beneficial)."

But, it needs to be emphasized that "marginally fit parents" are only beneficial to their children in the context of a shared parenting regime. Marginally fit parents who have (interim) primary custody are detrimental to their children, even if they are mothers. In my experience, marginally fit mothers tend to sense (at least subconsciously) that they are only marginally fit (or less fit than the father). This awareness makes them insecure about their parenting rights in the context of a custody dispute where "better parent" is the putative standard applied. This insecurity, in turn, causes them to be defensive and protective of their rights, feeling the need to denigrate the parenting abilities of the father and to deny access lest the disparities in parenting become too apparent to a judge or child expert hired by the court to determine custody and access. Marginally fit mothers invent complaints and alienate their children from their fathers in an effort to preserve their status as primary parent. When a marginally fit mother is also a marginally fit employee (which is probably highly correlated), she has the added incentive of gaining child support by alienating the children from their father to win primary custody.

Dr. Grant Brown

As a shared parent, that had to go through years in the courts to obtain that privilege, I (we) produced a well-mannered, well-educated, and contributing member of society, despite the adversary that ensued at the time, and often at the hands of legal counsel that seemingly, and wantonly, added fuel to the fire. I perceive that the competent non-custodial parents that fight for shared parenting far outweigh any parent that may not otherwise have the wherewithal to do so. Never-the-less, I’m sure that both ends of the spectrum are still showing up in the courts regardless, bogging down the system, and costing/depleting meaningful parents from assets that otherwise could be spent on the best interests of a child. A rebuttable position of shared parenting would not only drastically reduce the utilization of court resources, but would more often than not quell acrimonious conflict if shared parenting was to be automatically assumed as written in law. The small percentages of family dynamics where shared parenting may not be ideal, are cases that would most likely still end up court, and should be easier to establish a burden of proof that a parent may not be fit to take on the role of a shared custodian rather than a competent parent that has to establish why they would be a good parent [as family history might be a good predicator]. In fact, it could be argued that most non-custodial parents that don’t have the wherewithal to be a meaningful caregiver, would either withdraw that rebuttable position or that determination would be made in the courts. All-in-all, the pros far outweigh the cons, and your tireless work on this subject matter should be commended. It’s not only time to make shared parenting the rebuttable first position after divorce/separation, its long overdue.

Brian Belway

August 13, 2018:

Thanks, as always, for your Thought of the Day. Witnessing violence is a form of emotional child abuse, but children also respond in similar ways to raised voices, hostility, etc. so witnessing verbal & emotional abuse of a parent is also a form of emotional child abuse. Even chronic hostility, without conflict or violence, can be a form of child abuse when the child is experiencing that, and living it every day.

Thus, while child protection decisions should always weigh abuse less heavily than violence, a presumption of shared parenting would be best served by distinguishing between the subtleties of what constitutes violence and what constitutes abuse, and also between different types of abuse. Parsing these distinctions would best serve the interests of the child and lead to better definitions in family law & jurisprudence.

Doug Couper

July 30, 2018:

Thanks for this contribution to keeping shared parenting and the systemic prejudice against fathers and men in the arena of consultation.

Doug Couper

July 30, 2018:

This analysis of the types of objections to equal shared parenting is the most helpful to see the patterns and how they have emerged. Thanks!

Karen Kristjanson

July 5, 2018:

My younger brother and I are the part product of divorced parents in the 70's. My mother moved us to another province and we had no access to our father or other family members we grew up with to that point. The negative impacts (my attempt at suicide), etc. this had/has on us and our lives was criminal at best. I am now the grandmother of two children and their mother has kept their father (my son) away from them for over 2 years now. The money for lawyers is used up and there is no help! My son is still expected to pay support (which I BELIEVE should never be the case if no access to children by other parent)! His license has just been removed because he fell behind in child support (due to not being paid by customer as he is self employed). Now he risks (jail), driving to get some work 45 minutes from where he resides to try and catch up on rent, bills, support. He has struggled with mental health the last 2 years and we worry daily that he will survive. What did the ex say, I don't care and tough shit. He will pay for leaving! I can only imagine how many more children, parents, grandparents and families are STILL going through this?! I would've thought 50 years later, things may have gotten better, but I think they are more damaging than ever!!!!!

June 28, 2018:

Hello Mr. Colman

I appreciate receiving your "thought of the day" and couldn't agree more on equal shared parenting. After watching my friend lose her 4 children to Parental Alienation, (a modern day stoning of an innocent mom), I have become a passionate advocate of stopping PA. I have read much of Richard Warshak, Amy Baker, Edward Kruk, Brian Ludmer, Ginger Gentile, Craig Childress' work... the list doesn't end. I get it..... now I need to share it. The targeted parent is often too traumatized to speak up publicly. PA is everywhere once you know what you're looking for!! I have a few ideas and I am seeking out a few more experienced advocates so I can aim some time and energy in the right direction. Do you have time for coffee and a little brainstorming?

Many thanks for your dedicated work!

June 25, 2018:

My concern is that the Family Court has tunnel vision when it comes to custody of children. There is so much bias against fathers that it is sickening. I wonder if anyone has ever thought to experiment and change primary care to a father to see if this reduces conflict and the amount of time that parents spend in a court room when their time could be better spent with their children?

My husband has been fighting for 5 years for more access to his children. He is an hour and a half away from them and their mother still refuses to allow more than the ordered every third weekend. We are taking matters into our own hands. We are moving into their school district and are hoping that the Judge will revert to a week on/ week off parenting which was the status quo before the mother decided she needed to move.