Leading Women 4 Shared Parenting

A new organisation called Leading Women 4 Shared Parenting was launched recently.   lw4sp

The organisation aims to bring together women from all walks of life who support and promote shared parenting (I prefer the term shared care), with a view to changing policy and perception. This excellent blog by one of the Leading Women, Rachel Alexander, explains more about the organisation and contains some very recent research to back up the LW4SP’s position.   

The calibre of the Leading Women  is incredible, there are politicians, researchers, lawyers, writers, campaigners, child advocates, journalists, academics; the roll-call of names is impressive and inspirational –  I am very proud and honoured to be among them.

This history of LW4SP is taken from their website:

Leading Women for Shared Parenting was founded to dispel the widespread myth that it is only – or even mainly – disgruntled fathers with limited access to their children who promote equal shared parenting as the default model for separating parents.

That is simply not the truth.

Polls in the United States, Canada and other western countries consistently demonstrate overwhelming support in the general population for equally shared parenting. Both fair-minded men and women across all social and cultural lines understand that mothers and fathers are equally important in the lives of their children.

For some years a number of prominent women in media and politics have been championing this issue in the public forum of ideas and in policy-making circles. Eventually they sought a common platform from which they could bring their support for equal shared parenting to effective attention and positive legislative action.

Thus LW4SP came into being, with more than 150 influential women lending their names in support of the equal shared parenting principle.

Much has been written, debated, discussed and argued about the benefits of shared parenting to children – and to parents –

  • It ensures continuation of family life for the child, with the advantage of nurture from both parents rather than just one.
  • It reassures the child that he has two parents, and although they live in separate places, he definitely has a home with both of them.
  • It dispels the notion that only one parent is “caring” and that the other is “errant” or “absent”.
  • It ensures that one parent is not unfairly burdened with the responsibility of discipline whilst the other is relegated to (or marginalised as) the fun or contact parent.
  • It provides the opportunity for children and parents to develop meaningful and lasting relationships – in place of the artificiality and frustrations of contact .
  • It affirms the parents in their belief that they both have an ongoing role in their child’s life.
  • It places both parents on an equal footing with schools, doctors and the world at large – who might otherwise only want to deal with the residential parent.
  • It confirms that no matter what, each parent wants to, and is able to, provide a home for their child.
  • It reassures the child that in the event of one parent dying he still has a home to go to.
  • Without a Shared Parenting order, if one parent dies, the child would not automatically go to live with the other parent, but would be left with whoever they were living with at the time or handed over to a guardian – a poor substitute for a natural parent.

In his article in Psychology Today , Edward Kruk, Ph.D. puts forward 16 arguments in support of shared parenting:

1. Shared parenting preserves children’s relationships with both parents

 2. Shared parenting preserves parents’ relationships with their children

 3. Shared parenting decreases parental conflict and prevents family violence

4. Shared parenting reflects children’s preferences and views about their needs and best interests

 5. Shared parenting reflects parents’ preferences and views about their children’s needs and best interests

 6. Shared parenting reflects child caregiving arrangements before divorce

 7. Shared parenting enhances the quality of parent-child relationships

 8. Shared parenting decreases parental focus on “mathematizing time” and reduces litigation

 9. Shared parenting provides an incentive for inter-parental negotiation, mediation and the development of parenting plans

 10. Shared parenting provides a clear and consistent guideline for judicial decision-making

 11. Shared parenting reduces the risk and incidence of parental alienation

 12. Shared parenting enables enforcement of parenting orders, as parents are more likely to abide by an equal parental responsibility order

 13. Shared parenting addresses social justice imperatives regarding protection of children’s rights

 14. Shared parenting addresses social justice imperatives regarding parental authority, autonomy, equality, rights and responsibilities

 15. The discretionary best interests of the child / sole custody model is not empirically supported

 16. A rebuttable legal presumption of shared parenting responsibility is empirically supported

LW4Sp are asking everyone who supports shared parenting to sign up and endorse their statement:

A growing number of children are being raised without the benefit of meaningful engagement with both parents. As contemporary research conclusively demonstrates, a child who effectively loses one of his or her parents through a custody decision, usually the father, is a child at risk for a number of negative personal and social outcomes.

Research also proves that, although children want a relationship with both their parents regardless of marital status, healthy bonding with a non-residential parent is impossible without a substantial amount of time spent in that parent’s physical presence.

Consequently, LW4SP is sending our elected representatives, the judiciary and policy-makers the clear message that substantive changes in family law must be implemented: changes that will ensure children the opportunity to remain fully engaged with both their parents into adulthood.

The women endorsing this statement know that not all children can have full access to both parents, and we know that not all parents are fit to raise their children. But we also know that far too many good, willing and fit parents are pushed to the margins of their children’s lives by unfriendly family courts, government policies and laws that undermine family integrity and autonomy.

It should be alarming to women everywhere to know, as they look at their son’s, there is a significant likelihood our government will turn him into a visitor to his children in the event he no longer resides with his kids’ mother.

Parental separation should not spell the end of a relationship between a child and one of its parents.

Forced separation from one’s own flesh and blood in the absence of abuse is morally wrong and socially irresponsible. That is why LW4SP supports equally shared parenting as the default arrangement for separating parents of minor children.

You can sign up and endorse Shared Parenting by visiting www.lw4sp.org and fill in the online form.  Be a Leading Woman, encourage your friends, colleagues, family to sign up too.


Filed under child arrangements, children, Divorce, equal parenting, equal parenting rights, family law, fathers, LW4SP

6 responses to “Leading Women 4 Shared Parenting

  1. We would love to be added to your Blog Roll. We are The DADPR Project (Daughters Advocating for Daddy’s Parental Rights) www. DADPRproject.org

  2. Hello QV,

    Yes I do have some comments concerning the LW4SP. To tell you the truth after spending the last half an hour looking around their website (blog) I must say i was totally bowled over, not to say dumbfounded, by the awe-someness of it all, all I can say is WOW!

    I found it very encouraging that so many women are prepared to support shared parenting without any hint of genderism attached to it, that was a breath of fresh air to me. So, I instantly signed up then and there and endorsed it. I see that you yourself have been pictured there, good on you! I wish that such common sense that I read there was evident over here and that the courts could read it for themselves. The point by point benefits listed, to do with having shared parenting, are logical, undeniably sensible and cannot be resonably challenged, not by anyone with a modicom of education that is.

    I thank you so very much for directing me to these people and to the site, I admit that some very distinguished women are present, you included. I am very, very, encouraged by this and to know that women get it! Thank you. My regards as always.

  3. LW4SP is an excellent initiative!
    Its founders deserve considerable credit.
    Some who are vehemently against the introduction a legal presumption of shared parenting have attempted to pit men against women in this debate.
    The reality, though, is that the scurge of fatherlessness affects women just as much as men.
    Daughters are separated from their fathers.
    Second wives are separated from their step-children.
    Grandmothers are separated from their children.
    Congratulations to LW4SP!

    Best regards
    Bruno D’Itri

  4. Robert Prichard

    I am a father that has custody of my son. His mother walked out on him and only sees him every other weekend despite my best efforts to keep their relationship alive. I am seen as the bad parent because i discipline and she let’s him do anything. She has been given the opportunity to enjoy his company more often and will not take advantage of it. I agree 100% with shared parenting but what happens when the other party doesn’t want it? I support all shared parenting, but I do not support just father’s rights. Think of the children, not yourselves.

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