It has been exactly one year since the organization Leading Women For Shared Parenting(LW4SP) launched, as a fledgling organization with just a handful of women. The group was formed to remedy the unfair child custody system, which encourages parents to fight against each other, hurting children who are deprived of time with their parents and their extended family. As fathers’ rights organizations have not been able to change the system on their own, it was hoped that with women speaking up about this drastically unfair situation, state legislatures would finally start revising antiquated family laws.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not just men, but many women who are hurt by the current system, whether as second wives to fathers who have been abused by the system, or as mothers, sisters or aunts of male family members. Less often, but still a problem, is when fathers are able to use the unequal laws against mothers. This is why LW4SP advocates for a rebuttable presumption of shared custody for most situations, instead of the unfair current primary custody default to one parent.
In its first year, LW4SP has attracted 70 Leading Women who come from all walks of life; columnists, practicing divorce attorneys, elected officials from six U.S. states, domestic violence practitioners, advocates, and others. There are women from all across the political spectrum, including the late Karen DeCrow, who served as a president of the National Organization for Women in the 1970s, and conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. Ironically, these ladies used to debate each other on college campuses in the 1980s and 1990s. There is a significant presence of Leading Women in the U.S. and Canada, and a growing contingent in the U.K., with members coming from 47 states, every province in Canada and a whopping 27 countries across the globe.
In its first year, the organization has commanded enough respect to be asked to add its endorsement to proposed legislation in the hopes of building legislative credibility. Additionally, some members have made significant legislative achievements, with Rebekkah Bradley, of the Strong Stepmom Awareness Campaign and LW4SP, having gotten a law enacted on visitation interference which should serve as a wake-up call to an epidemic problem.