September 2019 Advocate of the Month

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FUAN September 2019 ADVOCATE OF THE MONTH - Ruth Nichols

Families United Action Network congratulates and recognizes Ruth A. S. Nichols, M.A., MA, CFLE as the September 2019 FUAN Advocate of the Month.

Ruth Nichols - headshot

Ruth is a shared parenting advocate, Certified Family Life Educator, and contributing author to the Huffington Post, Divorce Magazine, The Divorce Magazine, Family Law Web Guide, A Voice for Men, and National Coalition for Men (NCFM) and manages several pages and sites addressing the issues in the shared parenting arena.

“The parent-child relationship is the cornerstone of my work. Research shows the parent-child relationship is the single most determining factor in the emotional development of the child. As professionals, we need to work together to create awareness and make the necessary changes for the child to enjoy a loving and reciprocating relationship with both parents.” 

Ruth Nichols

The motto of her SharedParentingInfo site is divorce is between the parents and about the child. She shares daily facts and research because “scientific support reveals how the child is impacted at an academic, emotional, genetic, physical, and spiritual level.” 

When seeking a new topic and using the search terms ‘parent-child relationship’, the first article on the list assessed custody after divorce. Results of the study indicated maintaining the father-child relationship is important during and after divorce. 

Upon reading this, two thoughts came to mind. One, they need a study to establish that a father is important. Two, this is an area that needs help. This became her new topic.  

In 2014, Ruth launched her first site: Shared Parenting Confessional, a place for parents to share their experiences in custody matters and the family court system.

Rate MY Family Court,  a survey introduced in July 2015, was created to understand the parental emotional experience in family court. At the time, minimal research existed on custody interference and the potential impact on the relationship with their child. 

Seeing this as a gap in the literature, Ruth created a 15-point survey. Read how parents describe the relationship with their child before and after divorce and the initial results of how parents describe the family court system. While this survey is closed, Ruth is excited to share an updated version with 75+ questions will be released soon.   

To address the most egregious form of custody interference, Ruth co-created Filicide: A Crisis within the Family Court System, which was launched in May of this year. The purpose is to identify cases with family court involvement. “Showing a correlation among high conflict divorce and filicide could help create awareness and show the dire need for family court reform by implementing equal shared parenting.”

Title IV-D has become a central topic of interest for Ruth. She comments on how several conversations about child support and family court alluded to Title IV-D being the problem, yet, there was minimal discussion as to how or why Title IV-D was the issue.

She started researching documents to learn how the process works. Concurrently, she was approached to develop a two-page Title IV-D summary for a presentation in Washington, DC. Over the past 18 months, she has written several articles on Title IV-D and created a FB group and site named Title IV-D and Child Support.

Her involvement in creating awareness on Title IV-D increased exponentially when Nicholas Dreeszan of Families United Action Network asked her to create a trifold to share with State and national legislators.

Title IV-D has become a central topic of interest for Ruth. She comments on how several conversations about child support and family court alluded to Title IV-D being the problem, yet, there was minimal discussion as to how or why Title IV-D was the issue. 

She started researching documents to learn how the process works. Concurrently, she was approached to develop a two-page Title IV-D summary for a presentation in Washington, DC. Over the past 18 months, she has written several articles on Title IV-D and created a FB group and site named Title IV-D and Child Support. 

Her involvement in creating awareness on Title IV-D increased exponentially when Nicholas Dreeszan of Families United Action Network asked her to create a trifold to share with State and national legislators. 

FUAN actively participates in working with legislators in Iowa, which is a national prime-time audience for candidates. 

Ruth is excited to join in presenting Title IV-D of the Social Security Act in conglomeration with FUAN and five other groups working with legislators. Ruth is aware change is a process, and comments, “Issues within Family Court are multilayered and systemic. Making progress at a State and national level is a process. 

Presenting how Title IV-D is related to child support and the labyrinth of mechanisms influencing court rulings is paramount because ultimately, every action and interaction influence the parent-child relationship shaping how the child develops and who the child becomes.” 

Ruth makes an effort to share information even when the advice is unsolicited. She responded to an attorney about an article he wrote on the perils of shared parenting. Read her direct response and gain insight into her passion for working with parents and children of divorce.

Mental health and emotional support are essential aspects of the shared parenting community. Ruth shares weekly crisis support information. Statistics reveal Saturday is the most prevalent day for homicide and Sunday is the most common day for suicides. Each Saturday a post includes crisis phone numbers for 50 countries and Sundays, a ‘text’ crisis line for the United States is shared.

Ruth was invited to participate in a group report in the UK with National Association of Alienated Parents in writing two sections: False Allegations in Family Court and Impact of Parental Conflict on the Child in Divorce and Custody. A revised report will be released soon.

Other clinical experiences include volunteering at a Christ-based clinic for women, working with children of divorce and as a group support leader for the Cares Foundation working with new parents/adolescents/young adults associated with the diagnosis of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. 

She writes articles on individuals overcoming their diagnosis, Clinical Research: 10 Things to Know, Synopsis of Nomenclature and other items for quarterly newsletters for the Cares Foundation and the Magic Foundation. 

Ruth resides in Orange County California with her husband, a family medicine physician. As a pastime, they enjoy riding their Harley. In her spare time, Ruth enjoys baking and has won several awards at the Orange County Fair in the cupcake and colossal cake divisions.

Once again, congratulations to Ruth Nichols for being selected as the FUAN September 2019 Advocate of the Month.

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