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A Comprehensive Scientific Review of What’s Best for Children After Divorce


May 22, 2017

A Comprehensive Scientific Review of What’s Best for Children After Divorce
National Parents Organization to Co-Host Landmark Two-Day Event on Child Custody

BOSTON – An upcoming scientific conference will explore whether judges and parents have been misled for decades about what custody arrangements are best for children when parents do not live together. The International Conference on Shared Parenting 2017 will convene May 29 and 30. Most of the leading researchers in the world will explore over 30 years of research on this topic, which affects over one-third of all children in the U.S.

“For decades, judges and parents have been taught that children need one home, one decision-maker, one bed, and one place to put down their schoolbooks when parents are apart,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, Founder and Chair of the Board of National Parents Organization. For instance,judicial training in Nebraska taught just that, based on documents finally disclosed after a several-year freedom-of-information battle. According to Dr. Holstein, co-host of the conference, “Recent publications by the most eminent researchers suggest the upcoming conference may turn this accepted wisdom on its head. If so, millions of children may be affected.”

The conference, hosted by the Boston-based National Parents Organization and the European-based International Council on Shared Parenting, takes place at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in downtown Boston. The scientific program includes researchers from18 countries, including from Sweden and Australia, where powerful research is possible because shared parenting has been the norm there for years.

Controversial topics will include:

·         Is shared parenting better for children if one parent fights in court for sole custody?

·         Is shared parenting better for infants?

·         What if there is a mild to moderate degree of parental conflict?

·         What if one parent has been the predominant breadwinner and the other has been the predominant caretaker?

·         Is shared parenting simply a way to get reduced child support payments?

·         What about same-sex parents?

Shared parenting refers to a flexible parenting arrangement after separation or divorce in which the child spends at least one third of the time, and as close to equal time as possible, with each parent, assuming both parents are fit and there has been no domestic violence. While shared parenting remains uncommon in the United States, it has been the norm in Sweden and Australia for years, and about 25 states have proposed laws in recent years to implement it, according to The Wall Street Journal. In just the last six months, for example, Missouri enacted a shared parenting bill, and the Kentucky legislature unanimously passed a bill mandating shared parenting in temporary orders.

Review the complete program here, and learn more about the conference at


Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.

A regular contributor to local and national media, Dr. Holstein is Founder and Chair of the Board of National Parents Organization. Dr. Holstein was appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts to the Massachusetts Working Group on Child-Centered Family Law, and he was previously appointed by a Massachusetts Chief Justice to a task force charged with reviewing and revising the state’s child support guidelines.

A graduate of Harvard College, Holstein also earned a Master’s degree in psychology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His medical degree is from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he later served on the faculty as a teacher and researcher. 


National Parents Organization, a charitable and educational 501 (c)(3) organization, seeks better lives for children through family law reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers after divorce or separation. The organization is focused on promoting shared parenting and preserving a child’s strong bond with both parents, which is critically important to their emotional, mental, and physical health. In 2014, National Parents Organization released the Shared Parenting Report Card, the first study to rank the states on child custody laws. Visit the National Parents Organization website at

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