Attack on Shared Parenting Research in Kansas

December 24, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Someone named Bud Dale has decided to set himself up in Kansas as (apparently) the sole arbiter regarding the science on shared versus sole parenting. Dale advertises himself as a “licensed PhD. psychologist and attorney in Topeka, Kansas.” In all the studies on shared parenting I’ve read and read about, I’ve never seen his name mentioned nor cited as a researcher in the field. The finest scientists in the field of parenting time and children’s well-being gathered in Boston in May of 2017 for a conference whose aim was to distill the state of knowledge about that topic. Dale wasn’t there, nor was he mentioned.

Nevertheless, Dale seems to have insinuated himself into the good graces of the Family Law Advisory Committee of the Kansas Judicial Council. His purpose appears to be to take issue with proponents of shared parenting, most notably Profs. Linda Nielsen and Richard Warshak. To that end, Dale’s written a letter to the aforesaid Committee. If his letter is any indication of his overall trustworthiness, no one should take Dale seriously.

Weirdly, stuffed willy-nilly into his claims about Prof. Nielsen, Dale included a swipe at me and at NPO. Here’s what he had to say, among other things.

Your committee should also be aware of a recent exchange between the NPO and the Ohio Association of Domestic Relations Judges (OADRJ). After the NPO issued a report on August 30, 2018, which “purported to analyze and evaluate the parenting time ordered Relations and Family Courts in Ohio and provided a “failing grade,” the OADRJ responded. The OADRJ found the NPO grading system fundamentally defective and called the conclusions in the NPO report “inaccurate, misrepresentative and speculative.

Sigh, where to begin? I suppose the most important item to point out is Dale’s claim that the NPO’s report “purported to analyze and evaluate the parenting time ordered Relations and Family Courts in Ohio.” That of course is nothing but a lie. I don’t like to call people liars, preferring to give most of them the benefit of the doubt. But when Dale has had the opportunity to read the report or, failing that noisome task, my response to the absurd letter written by the president of the OADRJ, he can be expected to at least know what the report is and what it isn’t. Accordingly, Dale lied to the committee.

The simple fact is that, as explained in so many words by the report itself, by me on this blog and by the co-author of the report, Don Hubin, the report is in no way an analysis of actual parenting time orders. It’s an analysis of the guidelines on parenting time promulgated by each of Ohio’s counties and used by their family court judges.

But Dale’s mendacity doesn’t end there. Notice that he placed in quotation marks the words “purported to analyze and evaluate …” as if he were quoting either the report itself or some accurate description of it. But, like his previous claim, that too is meant solely to mislead whoever reads his letter. Indeed, his quotation comes from the response by OADRJ president, Judge Paula Giulitto, to the report. The only problem with that response was that it too failed to tell the truth about what the report is and what it isn’t. The claim was false then and still is. That fact I pointed out in my blog piece on the OADRJ response as did Don Hubin elsewhere.

In short, Dale, like the OADRJ, has no material response to the NPO report and, not being intellectually honest enough to address its merits, he chooses to make stuff up instead. This is the man who hopes to derail shared parenting in Kansas.

But, as I said, his real target is Prof. Nielsen. Having apparently done no research of his own, Dale nevertheless seeks to take on someone who has. In his letter, he repeatedly claims that Nielsen’s work contains “numerous inaccuracies” and “numerous additional errors.” Gee, that would sound serious if Dale were himself a serious critic. But, as I said above, his false statements regarding the NPO report let us know just how scrupulous a critic Dale is. I suspect his claims about Nielsen’s work are every bit as shady as his representations about the report.

Dale’s idea of grievous errors on Nielsen’s part include things like the fact that she put the wrong page number in a citation, put quotation marks around a phrase when she was in fact paraphrasing, etc. In other words, Bud Dale looks every inch the copy editor. He knows his commas and semi colons, just not his facts.

From what I can gather, the Kansas committee should pay Bud Dale no more attention than it would some troll commenting on its website. But I’ll get into that in more detail next time.

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