Opposition Group Turns to Stealth and Sexism to Oppose Shared Parenting In North Dakota

Rachel Alexander, an attorney, is the editor of the Intellectual Conservative.

All too often, instead of being the keepers of the law, state bar associations flagrantly violate the law instead. They get away with this because they are controlled by powerful judges and affluent left-wing attorneys. Most often, people are too terrified to take on the rich and well connected, fearing they could be easily decimated by (ab)using the legal system.

The debate about Measure 6, on the ballot this fall in North Dakota, is a recent example. Measure 6 would establish approximately 50/50 shared parenting as the default when parents with children split up, unless a court finds that one parent is unfit. Although 110 world experts have endorsed shared parenting, the deceptively named "Keeping Kids First" - which should be more accurately named "Keeping Kids With One Parent" - appears to be the only group opposing Measure 6. However, this group is nothing more than a cleverly named front for the primary opposition - feminists, divorce attorneys, the state bar association and the ACLU. Notably, not a single divorce attorney is identified as such on the website of the organization where the members are listed. However, all but three of the 12 members are divorce attorneys. Divorce attorneys stand to lose a lot of money if child custody becomes less acrimonious, and shared parenting would accomplish just that.

The original email address for the organization was That is from the domain name of the North Dakota State Bar Association. Tellingly, after the shell organization was called out on misuse of bar association assets, the email address was changed – evidence of guilt. The executive director of the bar association is also listed as one of its members, more evidence of the cozy relationship.

The last time a state bar association misused its resources - using bar dues from attorneys forced to contribute in order to practice law - it was taken over by the state supreme court, which reduced its fees drastically. The Nebraska State Bar was penalized for lobbying against shared parenting, since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that mandatory associations cannot use the dues of their members to lobby for or against legislation. North Dakota is a mandatory bar association. Attorney Robert Franklin wrote on the National Parents Organization website about its opposition, "how it was possible for an organization of lawyers to not know the laws directly applicable to the doings of that organization?" Good question, and one the N.D. Secretary of State should be asking Keeping Kids First.

Contrast this behavior with one of the organizations supporting the initiative, Leading
Women for Shared Parenting
(LW4SP), of which I am a proud member. There are over 75 leading women from all walks of life in this group - including a number of practicing divorce attorneys, elected officials, psychologists, social scientists, parental alienation experts, domestic violence practitioners and child advocates.

The opposition to Measure 6 is using underhanded tactics, as they know Measure 6 would decrease conflict, which is how divorce attorneys get paid. Their rhetoric is full of inaccurate sky-is-falling scenarios, such as claiming the legislation will lead to rigid 50/50 shared parenting without any wiggle room. One attorney blatantly wrote in a letter to the Pierce County Tribune, "It would require courts to divide children's time half-and-half between moms and dads, in every case, no matter the circumstances."

More disgustingly, however, is how opponents have smeared the 25 North Dakota women who comprise the sponsorship committee of Measure 6. Prominent North Dakota Democrat, Lloyd Omdahl, recently wrote, "Supporters of Measure 6 have rounded up a sponsoring committee consisting solely of women to disguise the fact that this measure would place a new troublesome burden on women assigned primary residential care." Apparently, Mr. Omdahl believes the 25 women of the Measure 6 sponsoring committee have been either tricked or manipulated into sponsoring the measure. Mr. Omdahl, that's sexist. In his own "War on Women," Mr. Omdahl also ignores that in all reliable polling, over 70 percent of people support shared parenting, with women and men showing support in equal numbers.

Many - if not most - women have a husband, brother, son, or other male relative who has been dragged for years through the unjustness and costliness of the family law courts, so these women are also being affected negatively, much like any "non-custodial" father. Less common, but also a problem, is what happens to women who have had the system used wrongly against them, perhaps because their ex was a divorce attorney, judge or otherwise well connected. The reason organizations like LW4SP have emerged is because women support shared parenting as they know it's best for children.

Leslie Loftis, an attorney and member of LW4SP, explained last week why children do better with shared parenting after divorce, not primary custodial living arrangements. We now know children who live in father-deprived situations suffer a long litany of developmental problems, including: youth crime, poor academic performance, homelessness, depression, suicide, delinquency, promiscuity, teen pregnancy, behavioral problems and substance abuse, and we now know such problems are actually caused by father absence. Furthermore, there is not a single study showing current court practices, which minimize the time children are allowed to spend with one parent, have any positive impact on reducing parental conflict. In short, when lawyers minimize an otherwise engaged and capable parent in the lives of their children, these actions are simply indefensible.

As prominent leader Phyllis Schlafly describes in her new book, "Who Killed the American Family?" fathers have been maligned for decades by activist judges, feminists and left-leaning groups, who desire to replace fathers with government programs. These same liberal groups have now assembled in North Dakota to oppose what social scientists have found is best for children, as it doesn't fit with their own economic or ideological interests. They're wrong. To ignore the litany of evidence and facts against this, buys into feminist propaganda that hurts kids - who merely want and need both their parents.

Rachel is the editor for and an attorney.

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