April 17, 2018
A 50:50 rebuttable presumption in child custody has been the goal of this movement for as long as I have been a part of it. Many believed that once reached it would be the end of our children being forced to grow up with only one parent, despite 2 loving fit and able parents being willing and available.
No. This is not the goal post signaling the end. This is a goal post signaling the beginning. The beginning of change, the beginning of parents presumed equal from the start. Kentucky is leading the Nation into the new era of parental equality thanks to the men and women who reside there. People like Representative Jason Petrie, National Parents Organization’s Matt Hale and The Fathers’ Rights Movement’s Greg Wood and Rob Holdsworth.
They introduced a bill that passed both the house and the senate within 90 minutes of one another to be finalized and signed into law by Governor Bevin.
The idea of a 50:50 rebuttable presumption in child custody is not a new one. Equality itself is not a new notion. Yet even into the 21st century, it seems it must be consistently fought for. The parental equality movement has been fighting for it for a decade or more. Matt Hale has been leading the charge in Kentucky now for 5 years. The NPO/TFRM/AFESP team in Missouri has been fighting for it consistently for three years now and it looks to join and stand next to Kentucky in its stance for equality. It may even include provisions to discourage the onslaught of false allegations of Domestic Violence this country has seen in the family courts. It is so common and so effective that it is known as the SILVER BULLET, claiming the lives of 10’s of thousands of innocent parents and children every year.
No, equality is not a new notion. Nor is the notion that child custody should begin with a presumption that both parents should spend as close to equal time as possible. What is new is that it is now law in the state of Kentucky!! For the first time in history a judge must by order of law presume that both parents are equally important in their child’s life regardless of gender, social class, economic capability or anything else. PARENTS ARE EQUAL.
What is icing on the cake in this new law that will have far reaching effects beyond that of the courtroom is the fact that both parents will have equal time with their child after a separation IS NOW AN ACTUAL FACTOR OF THE “BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD”.
Psychologists have been telling us for years in study after study and peer reviewed article after peer reviewed article that this is the case. That anything less than 35% time with a parent will significantly reduce the bond and impact that parent will have on their child’s life. The more closely time can be spent between the parents equally, the more likely a child will develop into a happy, well-adjusted, and productive adult. I have heard far too many within our movement make statements along the lines of,
“Yeah, but this”
“Yeah, but that”
No. There is no “But anything”. Kentucky is the first to make into law a 50:50 equal shared parenting rebuttable presumption!!!
Kentucky has just ensured that the majority of their children would now benefit in the positive manner the research shows that they will. Kentucky now sets the bar and asks the question, who else wants equality in their states? Who else will start demanding that their children be treated as well as the children of Kentucky? With nearly 30 US states with some kind of shared parenting imitative in their legislative bodies this year, the race is on. What states care about their children and will follow Kentucky’s lead, and which states do not care for their children’s futures?
What will your state do for the children of your state? What will you do? Will you call your representative on the phone and demand equality for your own children? Alternatively, will you go down to the office of you representative personally to tell them you demand that your child benefit from parental equality?
We all have a choice in how much of a part we are going to play. It is a personal choice and there are many factors that help make that choice. I spent the better part of the day today on the phone with advocates across the country from several organizations. In the last week I have communicated with advocates across this country from every major organization including:
Ned Holstein (Founder) and Petra Maxwell (Executive Director) of the National Parents Organization,
Terry Brennan (Co-Founder) Molly Olson (Co-Founder) and Lori Barkus of Leading Women for Shared Parenting,
Mark Ludwig of Americans For Equal Shared Parenting,
Kash Jackson Libertarian candidate for Governor in Illinois, as well as Melissa Isaak (Legal Director),
Dr. Travis Gee (Director of Research), and Jeremy Roberts (Director of Legislative Reform) of The Fathers Rights Movement, to name only a few.
All of these people have made a choice. A choice to do something about the parental inequality occurring in this country. Some of them like Ned Holstein and Molly Olson made that decision two decades ago and are still here leading the way. I am empowered by the fact these fellow advocates and groups are all coming together to put into place parental equality and to put the interests of our children first.
However, of all the advocates that I have spoken to recently, none have given me renewed hope and inspiration like three men in Kentucky: Matt Hale, Greg Wood, and Rob Holdsworth. The boots on the ground that have carved a place in the annals of history yesterday and who have set the standard in child custody after a separation for this country. These men who I admire and called to thank each in turn explained to me the impact I have had on each of their lives. The inspiration that I have given to each of them over the years. It was unexpected and coming from not just one, but from all three of them forced me to stop. To realize that the impact i had on these men over the years actually played a part with what was accomplished yesterday. I’m still processing their words to be honest. Shortly after that Mr. Holstein text to me words in response to a text i sent him, while he was speaking of himself, his words unknowingly to him, had an overwhelming meaning to me as well at that moment:
“We forget the impact we have on others.”
We really do Ned. Or many times, we may never even know.
To all the parental advocates across the globe. Yesterday a milestone was reached. It signals the beginning of change, the beginning of parents presumed equal from the start. You have a choice how much of a part you intend to play in this change. Join us. Demand equality in your state. Pick up the phone and point to Kentucky. Point to Missouri. Go down to your representative’s office in person and make sure they hear what you are saying.
Or come and join us in Washington DC May 20th at Capitols for Kids!
Follow the lead of these people below who made history yesterday, April 26, 2018 on behalf of children everywhere. Will you do your part to try to help all of us that I have named and countless others I didn’t name; to make an impact? An impact like the one Kentucky has succeeded in doing? An example of the impact Kentucky’s law has had as it ripples across the country and the globe can be seen in the image next to those history makers listed below. It is a text message of a once alienated father at a random truck stop in anywhere USA. That is what this law means to so many.
A symbol of hope.
A special thank you to all of you, including a great number not mentioned, who have played a part in putting on the books THE BEST LAW EVER!!
- State Rep Jason Petrie – House Judiciary Vice-Chair
- State Rep Kevin Bratcher – House Majority Whip
- Senator Jimmy Higdon – Senate President Pro Tempore
- Senator Whitney Westerfield – Senate Judiciary Chair
Dr. Ryan Schroeder
Assisting NPO & TFRM
Alexandra Beckman – Parental Alenation in Kentucky