Mitchell Sanderson: Yes on 6, because shared parenting is best for children
PARK RIVER, N.D. -- This is what the current family law system has created, and what Measure 6 is trying to stop: Press release, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 26, 1999: "More than a quarter of American children -- nearly 17 ...
PARK RIVER, N.D. - This is what the current family law system has created, and what Measure 6 is trying to stop:
Press release, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 26, 1999: “More than a quarter of American children - nearly 17 million - do not live with their father. Girls without a father in their life are 2½ times as likely to get pregnant and 53 percent more likely to commit suicide.
“Boys without a father in their life are 63 percent more likely to run away and 37 percent more likely to abuse drugs. Both girls and boys are twice as likely to drop out of high school, twice as likely to end up in jail and nearly four times as likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.”
It is painfully clear the dangers of sole custody are not worth the risks to our children. Shared parenting is a no-brainer.
Let’s produce a system that actually works. Research shows that shared parenting reduces conflict, helps parents cooperate for the sake of the children, helps children do better in their everyday and adult lives. Also, while shared parenting does not reduce material and financial support for children, it does reduce re-litigation costs, and it also most closely resembles an intact family.
Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy and criminal activity compared with children who have uninvolved fathers.
Children who have lived through their parents’ divorces and entered young adulthood (and college) have given us their “expert” advice. Seventy percent of them, young men and young women alike, believe that living equal amounts of time with each parent is the best arrangement for children.
Research supports the conclusion that joint custody is associated with certain favorable outcomes for children, including father involvement, the child’s adjustment outcomes, child support, reduced re-litigation costs and sometimes reduced parental conflict.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that there is a presumption that fit parents act in their children’s best interests, and there is normally no reason for the state to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question fit parents’ ability to make the best decisions regarding their children.
In other words, the U.S. Supreme Court regards parental rights as fundamental and protected by the first, fifth, ninth and 14th amendments.
So, why would any attorney appose shared parenting?
Please, Herald readers, don’t fall for the misinformation being put forth by the opponents of Measure 6. These people profit from family law, and all they are trying to do is deceive voters on the idea that kids being with both parents is bad.
When two people are married with children, the government does not tell them how much time their youngsters can be with them. So, why in a divorce should the government have any say, unless a parent is proven unfit?
The opposition is the same old foes telling the same old lies. Attorneys who profit from keeping parents fighting are hurting the future of North Dakota, our children.
Please vote Yes on Measure 6.
Sanderson is a former chairman of the North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative.