Thursday, October 23, 2014

N. Dakota fight over shared parenting

I previously mentioned a N. Dakota shared parenting initiative, which seems like good common sense to me, but here is a politician opposing it:
In 90 percent of divorces, parents peacefully agree to a division of parenting time. Mothers usually end up with the major responsibility for primary residential parenting.

Measure No. 6 has been proposed by folks who are unhappy with the apportionment of parenting time refereed by the impartial judiciary.

So they are proposing a new rule — equal parental rights and responsibilities, equal parenting time, equal primary residency and equal decision-making, unless the non-custodial parent can be proved unfit beyond a reasonable doubt.

Equality sounds good, but Measure 6 would change the impartial system now in place. And because over 80 percent of parents with primary residential care are women, the burden imposed by this measure would fall primarily on them.
The burden? I think he means that the child care burden is already on women.
To fight an unfit parent, women would have to pay for the lawyers and investigators to prove the unfitness of a hostile parent. Unless they can come up with the money, they will have to live with the constant harassment of a disgruntled ex-spouse.

We don’t know what would constitute”unfit” under the standard of “clear and convincing evidence.” Would abuse make a parent unfit? Would an alcohol or drug addict be unfit? How about a convicted sex offender? Or a parent who terrorizes spouse and/or children?

All unfitness, such as mental cruelty or spouse abuse, can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Under the present system, the impartial judiciary takes into account the degree of fitness, meaning that parents already get the opportunity to demonstrate their fitness for equal involvement.
Actually the term "unfit" has a well-understood legal meaning, as courts have been finding parents unfit for centuries.

His main point here is that the moms should not have to prove their accusations against the dads, in order to win child custody in family court.

I post this as yet another example of people being against basic principles, like innocence until proven guilty.

The ND politician is also criticized by Robert Franklin.

The Intellectual Conservative blog argues:
In one of my blog posts on Measure 6, the North Dakota initiative that would establish a presumption of equal parenting in the state, I pointed out that any monetary support given to the opposition (or proponents) by the State Bar Association of North Dakota (SBAND) would violate the holding of the United States Supreme Court in Keller vs. State Bar of California. Keller holds that a mandatory state bar association’s activities are limited to those directly related to the regulation of the legal profession in the state. To do otherwise would be to violate the free speech rights of members who are required to pay dues, but disagree with the position taken by the state bar. Justice Rehnquist outlined to what expenditures mandatory bar associations (like that of North Dakota) were limited:
Thus, the guiding standard must be whether the challenged expenditures are necessarily or reasonably incurred for the purpose of regulating the legal profession or “improving the quality of the legal service available to the people of the State.”
Needless to say, equally shared parenting by divorced parents in North Dakota has nothing whatever to do with regulating the behavior and education of attorneys in the state. About that there can be no serious dispute.
Custody trials over the BIOTCh make a lot of business for lawyers. A presumption of joint custody would simplify a lot of legal disputes.

The author of that seems to be Rachel Alexander, who also wrote Guide: How Fathers Can Win Child Custody. It has many useful tips. She is also part of Leading Women For Shared Parenting. I think that she is someone's second wife, and thus understands the male view in this.

1 comment:

HeligKo said...

Proving unfitness is a much higher standard than BioTCh. It would be a good thing for the children and the parents. That high bar would likely shutdown most disputes, and allow for more acrimonious resolutions, and fewer parenting relationships would be destroyed through a custody dispute.