Women take the lead in national group espousing shared parenting

“If you look at history, no group involved in any kind of struggle can affect change on their own,” says one dad and divorced father who has, perhaps unwittingly, spawned a seminal movement promoting fathers’ rights in the context of child custody.

Terry Brennan recalls voicing his views on equally shared parenting to a few women he knows. And then, as one media report notes, he simply “stepped out of the way” and let them take over.

What prompted further action on their part, say a number of family law commentators, is a widely shared view in the United States, from Georgia to California, that children post-divorce thrive best in almost all instances when shared parenting is at the fore and courts approve an equally shared custody arrangement.

That contrasts to the situation — common in a majority of cases for divorced dads — where the mother is awarded sole physical custody and the father has more limited rights of access and visitation.

A just-launched national coalition called Leading Women for Shared Parenting seeks to better ingrain the idea that equally shared parenting should be the norm, given that it best promotes the interests of children. The group is singular in that it is comprised entirely of women, a group that has historically not been particularly vocal in support of fathers’ rights. Leading Women includes members from across a broad spectrum of professional fields, including government, the law and social sciences.

And, perhaps surprisingly, notable feminists are also active members. As Brennan says, only a crescendo of collective female voices can truly advance the idea of what has long been deemed a “fathers’ issue.”

Although a number of advocates for Leading Women for Shared Parenting are already busily engaged with lobbying and other supportive efforts, the organization will officially launch on Father’s Day.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Rosenblum: Divorced dads get big gift from fired-up moms,” Gail Rosenblum, June 8, 2013

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