Karen Covy – you are wrong on so many levels.

“Equal Parenting” means exactly what it says.  Two parents share parenting rights, responsibilities, and time with their kids 50/50.

https://karencovy.com/shared-parenting-equal-parenting-new-laws/

“Research also shows that conflict hurts children.”
REBUTTAL: The periods of highest conflict and distress in regards to divorced children and two parents, are the periods of transition.  Equal 50/50 parenting allows a simple transition to happen once a week – that is 52 transitions a year.

Compare that to the present standard often allocated to fathers of every other weekend and one night weekly of visitation.
26 x weekend pickup
26 x weekend drop off
52 x mid-week visitation pickup
52 x mid-week visitation dropoff
TOTAL 156 transitions vs a mere 52 in an equal parenting arrangement, that is 3x the number of distressing transitions.

1. They establish a legal presumption of 50/50 parenting time.

“A legal presumption strips judges of discretion and requires them to “presume” that something is true. without any proof that it is true.”

In no way is a judge stripped of their discretion. The presumption simply mandates that a) the starting point for evaluating a custody case starts from an equal position b) that if a judge decides there are grounds not to award 50/50 equally shared custody, than the judge must be able to substantiate the reasons why they feel justified to take away a child’s right to have both parents in their lives equally.

“regardless of the facts and circumstances of their case.”

Completely untrue.  However, the facts and circumstances must be documentable and substantiated. Presently, this is not the case.  If one parent is an adept liar, they can simply make claim after claim with no requirement to provide any supporting evidence to substantiate the claim. Whom the judge believes becomes the winner – regardless of truth, facts, or the safety and well-being of the child(ren).  The presumption mandates that a judge can actually substantiate why they decided to believe one party over the other, what evidence led them to see a concern, and to mandate both from parents but also custody evaluators, etc. that any claims be substantiated.

2. They change the burden of proof.

“a preponderance of the evidence” versus “clear and convincing”

Why this change is necessary, because in family court a “preponderance of evidence” is often just “he said” or “she said”, and the judge believes them (be it because they’re younger, more attractive, a woman, etc., etc.) and routinely clear and documentable evidence is ignored in decisions.

However, since the burden of proof is set merely at a “preponderance of evidence” there is little ability to question a judge’s decision since the judge simply felt one individual to be more believable than the other, that can be deemed sufficient (despite that one individual favored by the judge repeatedly making false statements while the one disbelieved by the judge could of spoken honestly).

3. They change WHAT a parent has to prove in order to deviate from strict 50/50 parenting time.

As they should.  Imagine if we went back to the old patriarchy standard of custody, prior to changes enacted as women became more empowered politically and gained the right to vote. Fathers always received custody of the child, as they were deemed his heirs.

Currently, fathers almost automatically loses access to their children. Despite any concerns regarding the well being and safety of children in their mother’s care.  Fathers who are hard working, drug alcohol free, with no criminal records still lose to mothers who are engaged in drug use and criminal activities and repeatedly investigated by CPS.

How is that a system benefiting or protecting the well being of a child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health?

“That is significantly different than requiring a parent to prove that having more or less parenting time is best for their kids.”

Why should I as an amazing dad have to prove that I have a right to be in my children’s lives or that my children have a right to have their dad equally in their life.  Reverse this, and you would decry the horrors of what fathers are subjected to continuously.

4. They require written court opinions.

The horrors, they actually require the judge to write an opinion justifiying his or her decision.  I mean, parents are forced in the court system (often by one selfish parent).

And to demand that after a father has spent $25,000 or more trying to be involved in his child(ren)’s lives, to expect a judge to actually write a few paragraphs justifying why they removed a father from a child’s life seems hardly a complaint.  Oh, and without that written opinion, it can be very hard to pursue an appeal. What was said? Did a court recorder record the opinion? How do you even get a copy.  Seriously, if the court cannot provide a father a written record of why it is taking him away from his children, than that court does not merit continued operation.

***

5 Ways the Proposed Parenting Laws Will Hurt Kids

1. The new laws put the parents’ “rights” above their children’s best interests.

No, the new law recognizes that it is a child’s right and in their best interest to have access to both parents on a regular basis. And that a parent’s gender is not the determining factor.

“What do children of divorce want? While the answer obviously differs from case to case, most kids just want to be kids.”

Funny you should ask that, because ALL my kids want their daddy in their lives a lot lot more.  All my kids want at least a return to the 50/50 equal custody we once had.  And if you want the truth, most kids want both mommy and daddy.  Sadly, in these cases that is NOT possible. So the next best choice (outside of any extenuating circumstances) is that the kids get parents 50% of the time.  ANYTHING ELSE, unless there are extenuating circumstances of abuse, etc. is a decision made against the children’s best interests, and usually against their desires.

2. The new laws endanger children in cases involving domestic violence, abuse, and neglect.

No they do not, any substantiated abuse or violence still has as much merit as it ever did. However, what it does is not allow is a wife who never had any claims of such abuse prior to suddenly after a divorce has begun (often because she’s chosen to be with another man) to suddenly claim and insinuate abuse without any evidence or substantiation. No accordance from any of the children.  And then under pressure to protect victims, enable the use of the courts to forcibly expel fathers from their homes, use restraining orders to prevent fathers from coming near their children – despite never having harmed their children.

At worst, it requires some sort of evidence to be provided. A record, history, child statement or testimony. ANYTHING….any single shred of evidence, regardless of how small.

At best, good fathers who have never abused their children or their spouses won’t have the courts utilized as a tool against them without cause. (The irony here is the presumption that fathers are the only danger to children despite many statistics that show abuse of children often is more common under mothers.)

3. Parenting research does not support the new laws.

“Depending on the study, “shared” parenting time can be anything from 25- 50% of time. Those studies simply don’t support the proposition that 50/50 parenting time is really best for the kids in all cases.”

First, the reason for the lack of in depth statistics on just 50/50 parenting time is due to the fact that the systemic bias of the family courts are so strong that there just are not a lot of 50/50 parenting time schedules.  The vast majority of schedules equate to mother automatically receives primary custody, father  is relegated to 2 weekends a month.

Nothing in the new laws prohibit appropriate parenting plans to be formulated. Nor do they say that accommodations cannot be enacted for newborn infants.  Rather, just that a case must be made and justified.

4. The proposed parenting laws will primarily be used by the people who are the least equipped to fight them.

“According to most experts, at least 90% of all divorce cases settle out of court.”
Why? Because most fathers are informed (and rightly so) that despite them being a superb and amazing father, that the mere fact they are male almost ensures that they will not be awarded even shared custody.
Do you spend $25,000 trying to stay in your children’s lives only to have nothing to share for it a year later. And if you do not have $25,000…then what? It is very hard for working parents to engage in a custody process “pro se”.

“The 10% or so that go to trial are the most difficult, highest conflict, cases.”
Often, only one party is difficult and high conflict. And they are seeking to use the court system as a way to destroy their ex-spouse and take everything they can away.

“Amicably divorcing people do not need an equal parenting law.”
True, but there are very few amicable divorcing people.  And it should be noted that BOTH need to agree to be amiacable, if only one chooses not to be, than it becomes contentious.

A presumptive 50/50 custody law would eliminate many cases that are brought to court merely for vindictive reasons. It will prevent one spouse viewing the court system as a way to take away everything from their former spouse (children, home, earnings, etc).

“As everyone knows, litigation is expensive. Fighting your divorce case in court can cost tens, or hundreds, of thousands of dollars. Yet, the only way to challenge the proposed equal time requirement if your spouse won’t agree to a different schedule, is by fighting in court.”

And what do you think one must do today?  No different…except presently, it is often based solely on gender.

5. The proposed parenting laws will dramatically affect child support.

OMG, both parents will be obligated to work and/or take care of their children. The horrors.

“While adjusting child support based upon time spent with a child seems fair, most men still earn more than most women.”
Most men work more hours, which is then used against them in custody court to justify taking them away from their children’s live.

Oh, and a little insight…EVERY state has laws and calculations that are designed to balance out any imbalances in income.  So even if a mother earns $25K/year and a father earns $50K/year, and are awarded 50/50 custody by presumptive default.  That does NOT mean that dad has twice the $$$ to raise the kids with then mom. Rather, the equations go thru and adjust the child support to balance out the income due the children.

What is seldom ever addressed is that if a mother chooses to not work or to work part-time in order to be with the children more, they will earn a reduced income, this then equates to the father a) losing custody due to working b) having to pay the mother more because she has chosen not to work.  Yet, even when it is the father who was the stay-at-home parent and the mother the bread winner.  Custody is still often given to the mother and the father suddenly obligated to get a job and begin paying child support.  Yes, this is about nothing but gender.

“Women therefore argue that if their support is reduced based upon parenting time, they won’t be able to make ends meet.”
Funny, you used the word women. Thank you for admitting this is really all about protecting a gender biased system that just happens to benefit women. One in which a man loses everything, the children he loves, the home he helped build, huge portion of his earnings, and then is held under the threat of incarceration and jail.

“Tying child support payments to parenting time causes many divorcing parents to put their kids in the middle of a financial tug-of-war.”

Funny, because presently, a father can pay child support and the mother can disregard court order after court order and refuse to let the father be in his children’s lives.  Yet, ironically, despite being in contempt of court, this behavior almost never garners jail time or even the threat of jail time.

***

The Proposed Equal Parenting Laws Are Not the Answer
“They will not put the children first in any situation.”

Ironically, they will put more children first than our current system. But perhaps you should talk to my children and get some insight.

“Right now, most laws don’t explicitly favor mothers in custody or parenting battles. But, as a practical matter, in many places there is a judicial bias in favor of keeping kids with their moms. That bias, as well-intentioned as it may be, is not helpful.”

And I think it is ironic, that in other areas, the solution of civil rights matters has been to pass legislation that protects equal rights.  Yet, here, you argue against such a protection. Meanwhile, children are left under abusive mothers, being abused, pimped out, even killed. While loving fathers don’t even have a chance at custody.

“How much time kids spend with each parent should be for the PARENTS to decide.”
Seriously? This is the dumbest line in your whole article. Firstly, it contradicts your whole argument above about being the child’s interests and not the parent’s interest.

Second, if both parents want the most amount of time with their children possible, than the only fair balance is 50%/50%. You’re arguing against codifying that for the very specific situations in which the parents cannot come to an agreement (because of either one or both parents).

Why should it not be for the children to decide?  The children get the least say. Were my children listened to, at the very least they would of have had 50/50 custody, if they had to choose one parent, it would of been daddy.

“The judge’s decision should be based on the best research, as well as the individual characteristics of each family. It should be based on gender neutral laws applied evenhandedly to all.”

IT SHOULD. BUT IT IS NOT. SO IT NEEDS TO BE FIXED!

“How can we really do what’s best for these kids?”

If you don’t think I have asked that question a bajillion times. You really do not understand this issue at all.

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