Colman's Equal Shared Parenting Thought of the Day

I hope that you are enjoying The Gene C. Colman "Equal Shared Parenting - Thought of the Day". I distribute it every Monday and Thursday morning. If you wish to cancel, you can do so by contacting the firm. I hope that you will be educated, inspired, and even motivated to take action to advance the cause of Equal Shared Parenting.


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  1. April 1, 2019-Research in Sweden Demonstrates Benefits of ESP
  2. March 28, 2019-Benefits of Shared Parenting Can No Longer Be Doubted
  3. March 25, 2019-How We Define "Best Interests of the Child" is All Important
  4. March 18, 2019-Forceful Criticism of Prof. Jennifer McIntosh's Work
  5. March 21, 2019-Can ESP Work Only When the Parents Are Not in Conflict?
  6. March 14, 2019-It's Not About the Money
  7. March 11, 2019-Kentucky Enacts Equal Shared Parenting Rebuttable Presumption
  8. March 7, 2019-Defining Your Terms
  9. March 4, 2019-Defining Your Terms
  10. Feb. 28, 2019-Importance of Maximum Contact Principle
  11. Feb. 25, 2019-Myths v. Facts #12
  12. Feb. 21, 2019-Should Canada Adopt an Equal Parenting Presumption?
  13. Feb. 18, 2019-Myths v. Facts #10 & #11
  14. Feb. 14, 2019-Myths v. Facts #9
  15. Feb. 11, 2019-Myths v. Facts #8
  16. Feb. 7, 2019-Myths v. Facts #7
  17. Feb. 4, 2019-Myths v. Facts #6
  18. Jan. 31, 2019-Myths v. Facts #5
  19. Jan. 29, 2019-Myths v. Facts #4
  20. Jan. 24, 2019-Myths v. Facts #3
  21. Jan. 21, 2019-Myths v. Facts #2
  22. Jan. 17, 2019-Myths v. Facts #1
  23. Jan. 14, 2019-Myths v. Facts - Introduction and Summary
  24. Jan. 10, 2019-Prof. Sanford Braver Responds #2
  25. Jan. 7, 2019-Prof. Sanford Braver Responds
  26. Dec. 10, 2018-Colman speaks to the House of Commons Justice Committee, Excerpt #3
  27. Dec. 6, 2018-Colman speaks to the House of Commons Justice Committee, Excerpt #2
  28. Dec. 3, 2018-Colman speaks to the House of Commons Justice Committee, Excerpt #1
  29. Nov. 29, 2018-Social science evidence demonstrates that failure to have a rebuttable presumption of Equal Shared Parenting risks harm to children’s emotional security and hence to public health
  30. Nov. 26, 2018-Relocation studies demonstrate that lack of father contact hurts children
  31. Nov. 22, 2018-Shared parenting benefits are not tied to those who simply agreed to the regime. The benefits are visible across the board, no matter how the parents came to such resolution.
  32. Nov. 19, 2018-Children of divorce with the best long-term relationships with both parents are those who had equal parenting time
  33. Nov. 15, 2018-More father parenting time mitigates the harm of parent conflict
  34. Nov. 12, 2018-Emotional security and mental health improves with increased father parenting time
  35. Nov. 8, 2018-Child should have as close to equal proportions of parenting time with both parents as is possible for that family
  36. Nov. 5, 2018-ESP = Children’s emotional security is strengthened
  37. Nov. 1, 2018-Preschool children living in joint physical custody arrangements show less psychological symptoms than those living mostly or only with one parent
  38. Oct. 29, 2018-Frequency of overnight parenting time for infants and toddlers correlates with better outcomes later in life
  39. Oct. 25, 2018-One parent’s opposition to shared parenting and high conflict does not necessarily negate a shared parenting regime
  40. Oct. 22, 2018-The case for frequent overnight access has been scientifically strengthened
  41. Oct. 18, 2018-Barbara Kay supports equal shared parenting rebuttable presumption
  42. Oct. 15, 2018-Social and legal policy should discourage conflict, not encourage it.
  43. Oct. 11, 2018-Empirically speaking, inter parental conflict in itself should not negate joint physical custody
  44. Oct. 8, 2018-Researchers who advocate for blanket restriction on father contact with infants and toddlers use invalid methodologies and distort their own data. Here are just some examples from Dr. Warshak’s 2017 paper:
  45. Oct. 3, 2018-Infants and toddlers clearly benefit from father involvement
  46. Sept. 26, 2018-Warshak’s 2014 article in favour of significant parenting time by both parents for all children, including infants and toddlers, which was supported by 110 leading social scientists, was demonstrated, four years later, to still be solid science and enlightened social policy. Warshak’s 2017 update paper states:
  47. Sept. 20, 2018-The Dr. Richard Warshak study is likely the most significant and important analysis of the social science literature relating to infants and toddlers spending significant time with both parents. Warshak’s study was endorsed by 110 senior social scientists
  48. Sept. 17, 2018-Equal Shared Parenting Time is not a contradiction to children’s best interests
  49. Sept. 12, 2018-Equal Parenting Time became Arizona’s starting point. This may have been due to educating judges with respect to the social science research which demonstrated the benefits to children
  50. Sept. 6, 2018-Arizona’s January 2013 Parenting Time Law Reform
  51. Sept. 3, 2018-Fabricius et al have published an important study that evaluates Arizona’s legislative amendments to parenting time regimes.
  52. Aug. 30, 2018-There are precedents for Equal Shared Parenting
  53. Aug. 27, 2018-Advantages of Equal Shared Parenting summed up
  54. Aug. 23, 2018-Debunking the arguments against rebuttable presumption for equal shared parenting
  55. Aug. 20, 2018-Shared Parenting ameliorates harmful effects of high conflict
  56. Aug. 16, 2018-Shared Parenting might create an incentive for parental cooperation
  57. Aug. 13, 2018-Violence and abuse could rebut a presumption for equal shared parenting
  58. Aug. 9, 2018-Mothers have not necessarily been the only primary caregivers before divorce
  59. Aug. 6, 2018-Performing a parentectomy causes harm to kids
  60. Aug. 2, 2018-Children in shared care homes fare better than others
  61. July 30, 2018-The conceptual arguments that have opposed equal shared parenting have transformed over time
  62. July 26, 2018-Joint custody is subject to greater scrutiny than other modalities
  63. July 23, 2018-Joint Physical Custody kids have better outcomes in the area of parental relationships
  64. July 19, 2018-There is a danger with many of the studies where the researchers rely only on the mothers’ reports and ignore the fathers’ points of view
  65. July 16, 2018 -Don’t "woozle" your data! Those opposed to Joint Custody tend to misreport their data
  66. July 12, 2018-Cooperation and Low Conflict do not equate to better outcomes for Joint Physical Custody children
  67. July 9, 2018-Misreporting studies’ conclusions is a favourite tactic of those opposed to Joint Custody
  68. July 5, 2018 - Better relationships with each parent = better outcomes
  69. July 2, 2018 - Joint physical custody kids simply have better outcomes
  70. June 28, 2018 - Joint Physical Custody bodes well for relationships with grandparents
  71. June 25, 2018 - Even grandchildren benefit from Joint Physical Custody
  72. June 21, 2018 - Joint Custody does not expose kids to higher conflict levels
  73. June 18, 2018 - Brian Ludmer sums it all up
  74. June 13, 2018 - Headnote
  75. February 25, 2018 - "Primary" parenting presumption

SOME FEEDBACK FROM OUR READERS

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.

February 25, 2018:

Isn't awarding custody to an alleged "Primary" parent based on a presumption? What distinction is used to determine who should be the "Primary Parent" if it's not based on a presumption?

Even if you're [or have been] a stay at home parent, doesn't confirm that you're a better parent. Relying on antiquated data, such as the 'Tender Years Doctrine', and to apply it to today's modern day realities, is all based on presumptions; presumptions the CBA constantly seems to rely on.

To suggest that a stay at home parent should be the primary parent is like telling an amputee that they'll never lead a normal life again. Just as one of several examples that could be provided, isn't the Para-Olympics [i.e.: Rick Hansen] all based on people with alleged limitations rising above adversity and learning how to not only adjust, but to compete, because there is a will to want to? Shouldn't fathers be provided with that same consideration?

Should it not be accepted [and not necessarily presumed] that a parent who WANTS to be in their children's lives, even if they were the ones with full-time jobs, not be able to adjust? A reasonable person would think adjusting to custodial responsibilities would be easier than adjusting to learn how to live with a spinal cord injury, yet somehow society has made every effort to accommodate the disabled person, but turns their back to accommodating a parental/child relationship after divorce; a relationship that had at one time existed pre-divorce, without ever being questioned by society.

At what point do these presumptions without merit become discrimination?

Brian Belway