Frequently Asked Questions
What is LW4SP?
LW4SP is an International Children’s advocacy organization supporting a presumption of Equally Shared Parenting in Family Law.
When did LW4SP start?
Conceptualized in March 2013, LW4SP launched on Father’s Day (June 16, 2013) with a strong base of Leading Women in the United States and Canada and a growing contingent in the UK.
Why was there a need for LW4SP?
Thousands of people are hurt every day by the practices of the Family Courts during divorce proceedings. To date, the separation of Children from engaged and capable parents has been branded as a “Fathers Rights” issue. From the thousands of conversations LW4SP members have had with members of their communities, we know this isn’t the truth. Members of LW4SP have heard the stories of the daughter who only got to “Visit” her Father, the Grandmother who became an “every other weekend Grandma”, the Step-Mother who watches her Step-Children struggle due to a “Custody Award”, and felt the need to get involved. While there are a tremendous number of “Fathers Rights” groups for men, there was no Platform from which Women could voice their position on Equally Shared Parenting. Thus, LW4SP was born.
Who makes up LW4SP?
LW4SP is made of up Leading Woman from all walks of life including prominent authors, activists, researchers, academics, advocates, domestic violence experts, columnists, therapists, legislators, attorneys, PTA Presidents and more. Most importantly however, LW4SP has a highly engaged membership, comprised of over two-thirds Women, who are determined to change Family Law in the most crucial way; to benefit the well-being of Children. Our organization is assisted by a group of passionate volunteers whose tireless efforts make all the difference.
What does current research show about Equally Shared Parenting?
Over 35 studies have shown Equally Shared Parenting produces the best outcome for Children of Divorce. These same studies show that the Family Court’s current practice, of placing Children most often with one Parent and allowing the Children “Visitation” with their other Parent, does harm to Children. LW4SP advocates on behalf of these Children, to enable them to spend equal time with both their Parents post divorce.
How many Women support Equally Shared Parenting?
A number of polls and studies shows between 78% and 87% of Women want Equally Shared Parenting as a presumption in Family Courts and that Women and Men have no difference in their opinion. Women support Equally Shared Parenting for all kinds of reasons, but primarily, because they know it’s best for Children. Many come to LW4SP with a personal story: they were a “Daddy’s Girl” and all but lost their Father except “every other weekend” when their Parents divorced, they have Equally Shared Parenting with their own children who are thriving but are watching their Step Children struggle in a non-Shared Parenting arrangement, they have Family members who have experienced the injustice of Family Court, have sons and understand the potential their Government will make him a “visitor” in the lives of his children, or the tremendous scar left on young girls, forced by Family Courts to grow up barely knowing their Father. Fair-minded Women everywhere are signing the Statement on the LW4SP website.
Who opposes Equally Shared Parenting?
Continually, two demographics oppose Equally Shared Parenting: the Bar Associations who are the special interest groups representing Attorneys, and Domestic Violence advocates.
How big is the Divorce Industry?
Prior to his passing in 2007, Professor Paul Bohannan estimated the size of the Divorce Industry rivaled that of the Automobile Industry. That is Billions of dollars going in to the pockets of attorneys, mediators, and the Court System, at the expense of the child’s future educational needs, medical needs or even basic lifestyle.
If Equally Shared Parenting is best for Children, why isn’t it the Law?
Unfortunately, the legal system hasn’t advanced the way our social system has, preferring the old idea that children belong with one Parent even though Social Science show this to be harmful to children. Further, the family law system is structured to make parents adversaries, entice Parents to fight over Custody of their Children and to prolong the process all for the sake of generating fees. Divorce is a big business which earns their income by “arguing” and there is a huge financial interest in maintaining current Family Law practices. Fortunately, LW4SP has been able to attract a number of Family Law Attorneys who want to help Children through the implementation of Equally Shared Parenting.
What about cases involving abuse, neglect or abandonment?
As no one at LW4SP wants to put any Child in harm’s way, we’ve put an exception in our Statement for cases involving proven abuse, neglect or abandonment. Further, LW4SP is exceptionally proud to count some of the World’s most prominent Domestic Violence experts amongst our Leading Women.
Aren’t the Vast Majority of Cases “Settled” in the Way the Parents Want?
Not even close. While it’s true that approximately 90% of cases are “Settled” (as opposed to going to trial) there are multiple reasons why this occurs. Given the well-known nature of the Family Court Custody “Award” statistics, Parents are frequently encouraged to settle since they are told their Children won’t do any better in Court. Further, Parents frequently run out of Money in pursuing time with their Children in a Court system designed to promote their arguing. As proof of such, during the tenure when Australia had Equally Shared Parenting, the amount of time Fathers received with their Children increased in every single year. LW4SP does not believe that Fathers only became interested in their Children after the passage of the Law, but instead that the fair nature of the Law enabled their Children an equal opportunity to spend time with both Parents. Settling is just that, resigning oneself to accept that this is the starting point of a new life based on the opinions of others whose only investment in the case is their salary.
What About Cases Involving “High Conflict”; Can Equally Shared Parenting Work in These Cases?
Interestingly, there is data to show that Equally Shared Parenting actually lessens parental conflict. Clearly, it’s better for Children to live in an environment where conflict is lessened. There is also literally no data which shows current court practices of reducing the parenting time of one parent has any impact whatsoever on lessening parental conflict.
Is There a Difference in how Family Court “Awards” Custody in Different Countries?
Not only are Countries different, but cases are handled differently even in the same Jurisdiction. LW4SP knows, there’s a reason why the first question a Divorce Attorney will ask is “Who is the Judge in your case?” Judges have been separating Children from their Parents for Years, and need to be guided by Law presuming Equally Shared Parenting except in cases of abuse, neglect or abandonment. The result of such will be the Parents working out an amicable solution rather than being encouraged to fight over their Children.
Why is Equally Shared Parenting the only Cause of LW4SP?
LW4SP believes current Family Law custody practices to be the root cause of a number of additional problems within Family Courts. Through the implementation of a presumption of Equally Shared Parenting, LW4SP believes it will help the greatest number of Children.
Is Equally Shared Parenting the same as “Joint Custody”?
No. In many jurisdictions, Custody of one’s own children is split between “Legal Custody” and “Physical Custody”. Legal Custody allows a Parent some degree of involvement in decision making while Physical Custody refers to the amount of time a Child is allowed to spend with their Parents. Giving Parents “Joint Custody” does not mean their children are allowed equal time with both of them.
What is the LW4SP Statement?
“Shared Parenting is an issue which knows no bounds. It is neither the domain of conservatives or liberals, poor or wealthy, and pays no attention to ethnicity or gender. The issue transcends all demographics. Our goals are shared, and should be supported, across all sectors of society.
Children benefit most from the active involvement of both parents regardless of their marital status. The undersigned recognize that absent issues of abuse, neglect or abandonment, government policy and laws must be structured in such a way as to maximize the opportunity of all parents to contribute to the social, emotional, intellectual, physical, moral and spiritual development of their children."
Why do you allow Men to join LW4SP?
Similar to some of the most prominent Women’s Organizations, while LW4SP serves as a platform for Women, we also welcome male members. The membership of LW4SP is over two thirds Female.
What are the plans for LW4SP?
Educate Law Makers and the Media that a vote against Equally Shared Parenting, is a vote against the best outcome for Children.
Do you offer assistance for people going through Family Court?
No. We cannot offer advice or counseling in individual cases. We serve as a Platform to educate Lawmakers and the Media about the support and benefits of Equally Shared Parenting.
Are you a Conservative or Liberal organization?
Neither. LW4SP is a non-partisan organization with members on both sides of the political spectrum. LW4SP encourages all Politicians to show real Leadership and support what Women want and what is best for Children; Equally Shared Parenting.
Where can I find out more about LW4SP?
More about LW4SP can be found on our website and our Facebook page. We’ve also had multiple stories in the Media, many of which are accessible from our website.
How can I get involved?
To help Equally Shared Parenting become Law, sign the Statement on the LW4SP website. You may also assist by volunteering with LW4SP or making a financial donation. Finally, make sure to get all the fair-minded, wonderful Women in your life to sign the Statement on the LW4SP website.
Does LW4SP have a position on gay parenting?
LW4SP has but one Cause: the implementation of a presumption of Equally Shared Parenting in Family Law. As such, we take no political position on gay marriage. Our view of Equally Shared Parenting has been formed by our belief in the natural right of children to love and be loved by both their parents, as well as by abundant research on the best interests of children and parents after separation.
It’s well established in the literature that Mothers and Fathers contribute in different ways to the lives of their Children. Some have argued that the contribution of one gender is of greater value to a child than that of the other. LW4SP firmly rejects any such assumption.
If a Child's family experience comprises two loving, engaged and capable Parents, the Child's love is not limited or directed by gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, creed or color. Those children simply know their Parents love them, and they, likewise, love their Parents. Unfairly minimizing the presence of one Parent in the child's life will create a negative impact.
LW4SP is comprised of individuals holding diverse opinions on numerous social issues. However diverse those opinions may be, each agrees with, and supports, the principle of Equally Shared Parenting.