For more than decade, the founder of the nonprofit Center for Parental Responsibility has been fighting for family law reform in Minnesota. Among other changes, the group is encouraging lawmakers to place an emphasis on equal custody arrangements in child custody cases.
The founder, who is a woman, also recently joined a national advocacy group promoting the same. Leading Women for Shared Parenting was launched unofficially in Massachusetts and May, and will officially launch on Father’s Day. Already, the group has recruited many members in the United States and Canada.
What’s interesting is that one might think that men would be leading the charge for equal custody arrangements. Traditionally, women have been granted primary custody in most custody cases with men being offered visitation.
However, a 2010 study by Arizona State University found that there is no real difference between the sexes when it comes to support for equally shared custody. In fact, when presented several post-divorce circumstances involving child custody arrangements, both men and women commonly supported an equal arrangement, the study found.
Members of the new advocacy group say that it is time women add their voices to the issue. Included among the ranks are congresswomen — both Democratic and Republican — social workers, professors, mothers, daughters and wives, who all believe that children fare better when both mothers and fathers play an active role in their lives.
In 2012, a bill promoting equally shared parenting time passed both the Minnesota House and Senate; however, Gov. Mark Dayton didn’t sign the bill into law after voicing concern about imposing equal custody arrangements in “the most challenging divorces.” The bill hasn’t gotten much action in 2013, but it isn’t dead yet.
Source: Star Tribune, “Rosenblum: Divorced dads get big gift from fired-up moms,” Gail Rosenblum, June 8, 2013