Connecticut Parents Support New Child Care Procedures
At the height of COVID-related disruption in 2020, Chief Administrative Justice Michael A. Albis reformed Connecticut’s family court system with his daring Triage and tracking initiative. The key provisions of the new approach, the early intervention of Family Relations and the new legal procedures taking effect on October 1, 2021 (in accordance with public law 21-104) allow two suitable parents who meet certain conditions to take charge of their project. parenting without hiring a lawyer, without motions or pleading before a judge.
Mediation through family relations or through a mediator chosen by the parents is now encouraged by Sorting and routing. Judge Albis’s own words explain:
This approach favors cooperative child-centered solutions rather than adversarial litigation, often discouraging separated parents from focusing on their children’s education. Sorting and route The procedures encourage parents to learn about co-parenting and parallel parenting of their children in divided households. Parents can use the money they might pay lawyers and court-ordered professionals – typically $ 15,000 and often many, many more – to benefit their children.
The National Parents ‘Organization (sharedparenting.org), in conjunction with the Sharedparenting Council of Connecticut (sharedparentinginc.org), commissioned a survey of Connecticut citizens’ perspectives on parenting children from separated households. The survey, which was conducted by well-respected independent survey firm Researchscape International in late summer 2021, found a startling consensus: strong support for Sorting and route and for the sharing of parental responsibilities as the norm when parents live apart.
When asked whether children are best served by procedures that allow them to develop a ‘parenting plan without hiring lawyers, filing petitions or arguing in front of a judge’, 80% of men and women commented. answered “yes”. Should a child spend a lot of time with each able and consenting parent? Over 95% say this arrangement is extremely or very beneficial!
More than 85% of men and women support a change in Connecticut law to create “a rebuttable presumption that shared parenthood is in the best interests of the child after parental separation.” And 94% of them say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who “supports children who spend a lot of time, up to an equal number, with each parent after the parents separate or divorce.” Eighty-three percent believe that granting sole custody to a single parent increases conflict. Here is a link to the full survey results.
What convinces Connecticut parents to support shared parenting? Well, we now have over 40 years of scientific research showing that in the vast majority of cases children are well served by a substantial sharing of parenting responsibilities by both parents provided both are able parents. On all well-being indicators, children who enjoy shared parenting do about as well as children whose parents live together. And they do much better than children raised by one parent with minimal involvement from the other parent. These conclusions are not supported by just a handful of studies, but by over 60 independent studies reviewed by Dr Linda Nielsen (Wake Forest University). (See here for important recent research.)
The Connecticut legislature can, and should, take action to help make shared parenting the norm. Creating a legal presumption that a substantial sharing of parenting responsibilities is in the best interests of the children would help break the outdated custodial / non-custodial parent model into which too many parents fall by default. And that would reassure parents that divorce / separation doesn’t necessarily have to diminish their relationship with their children, thereby reducing the level of anxiety and trauma some parents face when faced with the prospect of being. left out of the lives of their children.
This is what the voters of Connecticut overwhelmingly want. This is what the kids of Connecticut deserve more.
John M. Clapp, PhD and Eric L. Gladstein, DMD, are respectively chairman and vice chairman of the Shared Parenting Council of Connecticut, Inc. The SPC board of directors unanimously voted to publish this commentary.
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