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Child Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic

NPO has taken a strong stand to support parents who are paying child support and are facing a potential disaster due to the coronavirus-caused economic recession. The NPO Board has passed four resolutions: two aimed at Congress, two aimed at state legislatures. Here is what they say:

1. NPO resolves to urge Congress to: To add Subsection (c) to the CARES Act, Division A, Title II, Subtitle B, Sec. 2201. 2020.(d)(2) and then to immediately request that the Department of the Treasury recover the $1,200 Stimulus payments sent to the state child support programs in order to pay them to the child support payers along with any other $1,200 stimulus payments that may not yet have been passed on to the States.

2. NPO resolves to urge Congress to: Amend Social Security Act (SSA) Title IV, Part D, Sec. 466.(a)(9)(C) (the “Bradley Amendment”) to waive this provision during the COVID-19 crisis.

3. NPO resolves to urge the [STATE] Legislature to: Amend the state statutes, upon Congress amending the “Bradley Amendment” to waive this provision during the COVID-19 crisis, to remove language that limits the retroactive modification of child support to any period during which the petitioning party has pending a motion for modification.

4. NPO resolves to urge the [STATE] Legislature to: Amend state statutes pertaining to child support enforcement so that they exclude child support payers who have been making regular recent payments (even if only partial payments) on their child support orders.


NPO has communicated these resolutions to Congress and to leaders in the federal child support system. And we’re working with our state affiliates to communicate the appropriate ones to their state legislatures.

We urge everyone to contact their state and federal legislators to impress on them the seriousness of these issues. Without swift and strong government actions, there will be needless suffering of millions of parents and their children.

Full text of the NPO Board of Directors Resolutions

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2019 NPO Shared Parenting Report Card

2019 NPO Shared Parenting Report Card Highlights Some Progress and Great Disparity in State Custody Statutes

NPO Report HQ proof Hubin edits 2019 09 15 1Tableau 9.30 map
       2019 Shared Parenting Report Card                            2019 Shared Parenting Report Card Interactive Map              

National Parents Organization seeks to promote children’s well-being by making equal shared parenting the norm when parents are living apart. There is a compelling, and growing consensus among researchers that true shared parenting by separated parents is usually best for children, even when there is (non-violent) conflict between the parents and even when the parents do not initially agree to shared parenting. And the benefits to children increase as they have more equal time with each of their fit and loving parents.

To determine the degree to which state legislatures had absorbed and acted on this consensus about what parenting arrangements work best for children when parents are living separately, in 2014 NPO undertook the first ever evaluation of states’ statutory provisions promoting shared parenting. This 2019 report updates and enhances the 2014 report.

NPO found that, despite the research that now strongly supports the desirability of a legal presumption of equal shared parenting, many states have been extremely slow to alter their statutes concerning custody of children when parents live apart. There are, since 2014, signs of improvement and, in a few cases, extraordinary improvement. But far too many states lag behind the times and, in so doing, fail to promote the best interest of their children.

In the 2019 NPO shared parenting study:

-2 states received ‘A’s
-7 states and the District of Columbia ‘B’s
-25 states received ‘C’s
-15 states received ‘D’s
-2 states received ‘F’s

NPO calls on those states with weak statutory provisions concerning shared parenting to review the research on the well-being of children whose parents are separated and to enact statutes creating a rebuttable presumption of equal shared parenting. Children are entitled to the presumption that both of their fit and loving parents will continue to be fully engaged in their upbringing regardless of whether or not the parents are still living together.

 

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Media Contact

MEDIA CONTACTS

For media requests, please contact:

NPOMediaContact@nationalparentsorganization.org
Phone: +(617) 431 8019

 

Press Contact 

Please direct your inquiry or request for an interview with National Parents Organization to:
Don Hubin
Chair, Board of Directors
DonHubin@NationalParentsOrganization.org

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Ohio Parenting Time Report Executive Summary

National Parents Organization has completed a study—the first of its kind—of the parenting time guidelines of each of Ohio’s 88 county courts of domestic relations. These guidelines are intended to guide divorcing parents in setting a parenting time schedule for their children and, often, are explicitly presented as default schedules, “for parents who cannot agree otherwise.” Because these guideline schedules have a significant effect on the schedules parents agree on and those imposed when parents do not agree, they are important factors in shaping the actual parenting of children of divorced parents.

A large and compelling body of recent scientific research shows that children of separated parents benefit from substantially equal parenting time with each parent. (See “NPO Shared Parenting Research Resources” for citations and links.) This means that the defaults that courts set in place are important in promoting the best interest of children. And, importantly, the research established that this is true even for infants and toddlers and even when parents are in (non-violent) high-conflict relationships.

NPO’s study focused on “ordinary parenting time”, meaning non-holiday/non-vacation time. This is time that’s vital to establishing a true parent/child relationship. Furthermore, it was restricted to the guidelines that courts apply to parents living in close proximity, based on the individual court’s definition of that term.

The results of NPO’s study, reported in the “NPO Ohio Parenting Time Report” are shocking! Ohio Counties vary widely—indeed, wildly—in their parenting time guidelines.

  • Sixty-four of Ohio’s 88 counties have a parenting schedule that allows the children only two overnights and 60 hours or less with one of their parents in a two-week period. This means that the children are with their non-residential parent less than 20% of the ordinary parenting time. None of these counties’ schedules provide for the children to be with the non-residential parent on a school night. (One other Ohio county provides a schedule only slightly enhanced from this outdated model, by adding one additional overnight with the non-residential parent in a two-week period. This still accords the children just 20% of ordinary parenting time with one of their parents.)

  • Thirteen Ohio counties provide default schedules that allow the children 4-5 overnights with the non-residential parent and substantially more time with the non-residential parent, between 25% and 30%.

  • Only three Ohio counties provide default schedules that allow the children equal, or nearly equal, time with each parent.

The wide variation, alone, undermines any claim to Ohio counties’ parenting time schedules being based on research about what parenting arrangements promote child wellbeing. It is just not believable that, for children in Sandyville, Ohio (Tuscarawas County), it is presumptively in their best interest to be with their separated parents equal amounts of time but for children in Magnolia, Ohio (Carroll County)—just four miles away—it is presumptively in their best interest to see one of their parents only every 12 days, and then only for two days.

Ohio counties are also divided over whether children’s interests are served by parenting time guidelines that are age-sensitive or not. Forty-one counties have age-sensitive schedules, though some are minimally sensitive to children’s ages; forty-seven counties impose the same schedules on children of all ages, from birth to 18 years.

Surprisingly, 39 Ohio counties still use the outdated language of ‘visitation’ to talk about all of the time that the children are in the care and physical custody of one of their parents.

Using county population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, NPO estimated that 60% of Ohio families are subjected to parenting time guidelines that allow children just two overnights in a two week period with one of their parents. Only 2% of Ohio families reside in counties whose guidelines allow children equal, or nearly equal, time with both of their fit and loving parents.

Ohio courts are directed to make decisions about parenting time in the best interest of the children. NPO’s study demonstrates that most Ohio domestic relations courts do not have parenting time guidelines that research shows are in children’s best interest.

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Ohio Parenting Time Report Interactive Map


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Ohio Parenting Time Report

Family Court Study Reveals Severe Inequity in Parenting Plans
Definition of “best interest of the child” seems to vary county by county

Ohio Map
2018 Interactive Map of Ohio County Parenting Time Guidelines
2018 Ohio Parenting Time Report
2018 Ohio Parenting Time Report Executive Summary

A recent National Parents Organization (NPO) study revealed a severe inequity in how Ohio family courts determine their respective default parenting schedules in instances of divorce, creating an imbalance in how children are treated based on simple geography.

As reported in National Parents Organization’s “Ohio Parenting Time Report,” researchers found that the default parenting plans vary widely by county-by-county, awarding children in many counties as little as four days a month with a parent while providing children in other communities as much as equal time with both parents in instances of divorce or separation.

In total, the report found that 64 of 88 Ohio counties have a default parenting arrangement that allows the nonresidential parent less than 20 percent of regular time in instances of divorce or separation, despite an overwhelming amount of research that shows equal time with both parents is best for a child’s health and wellbeing. In the worst of cases, certain counties have default plans that only allow children to see one of their parents four days per month.

“We were pleased to see that three counties in Ohio provide default schedules that protect a child’s interest in having equal time with both parents in instances of divorce or separation — that said, sadly, many Ohio counties deprive children of this access,” said Don Hubin, Ph.D., one of the authors of this study and director of the Center for Ethics and Human Values at The Ohio State University. “Among the many reasons this is concerning is the fact that our state is treating its children so dramatically differently depending on where they live. Ohio should be treating children equally and providing them what they most want and need in instances of divorce, which research tells us time and again is as much time as possible with both of their parents.”

The Ohio Revised Code requires each Ohio Court of Common Pleas to adopt “standard parenting time guidelines” for dividing children’s time between parents when the parents live apart. Unfortunately, this has allowed counties to apply and enforce differing guidelines. These guidelines used across the state have generally been in place for decades and have clearly become unaligned with what current studies show is in the best interest of children.

The report, published as an interactive map highlighting different factors considered in the study, highlights these variances. The map, which can be found here, considers factors such as time and overnights the child spends with each parent, parental equality language, age sensitivity, transportation equality, guidance, and explicit gender bias to determine a grade for each county’s local parenting time rule.

“The most glaring takeaways from this report is that Ohio is simply not treating its children equally in instances of divorce or separation, and most Ohio children are being subjected to rules that are not in their best interest,” Hubin said. “How much time children are in the care of each of their parents shouldn’t depend on the child’s ZIP code. And the default parenting time schedules of each Ohio county should be grounded on the best scientific understanding of what sort of parenting schedules are in children’s best interest.”

“It is just not credible for our domestic relations courts to assert that, for children in Sandyville, Ohio (Tuscarawas County), it is presumptively in their best interest to be with her separated parents equal amounts of time but for children in Magnolia, Ohio (Carroll or Stark Counties) it is presumptively in their best interest to see her one of her parents only every 12 days, and then only for two days,” Hubin noted.

“A common argument against shared parenting suggests that a “cookie-cutter” approach to family court rulings doesn’t work,” Hubin continued. “However, Ohio courts are already using cookie cutters. And most of them are arbitrary and inconsistent cookie cutters that aren’t supported by research and are harmful to children. Ohio is not alone in this. These problems are echoed across the country, but Ohio counties show remarkable variation in how they treat the children of divorcing parents.”

The majority of these default schedules have a starting point with an overwhelming discrepancy in parenting time for one parent. With respect to ordinary parenting time (nonvacation, nonholiday time for parents living in what the court considers “close proximity”), NPO has determined that:

-64 of Ohio’s 88 counties have a parenting schedule that allows the children only two overnights and 60 hours or less with one of their parents in a two-week period. None of these schedules provide for the children to be with the nonresidential parent on a school night, an ill-suited arrangement for contemporary families based on the best scientific research available.
 –8 Ohio counties have parenting schedules that are slightly enhanced from the outdated model. These typically add one overnight with the nonresidential parent in a two-week period, while still allowing children less than 25 percent of ordinary parenting time with one of their parents.
-9 Ohio counties provide default schedules that allow the children 4 to 5 overnights with the nonresidential parent and substantially more time with the nonresidential parent, between 25 and 30 percent.

“It is certainly true that every family’s situation is different and divorcing parents should be encouraged to work out a schedule that will work for them based on the best research about child wellbeing. But Ohio courts have been using cookie cutters, in the form of local parenting time rules, for a long time and most counties are using particularly bad cookie cutters,” Hubin said. “If a default schedule is used, we should start with the presumption of equal parenting time. Divorce or separation is an adverse childhood experience, but if handled properly, we can minimize the negative effects on children and keep both parents fully involved in their lives whenever possible.”

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NPO’s International Conference on Shared Parenting (ICSP) 2017 Updates

ICSP2017 Logo


Mark Your Calendar Now for a Unique Opportunity
in 2017!

One Trip to Boston, Two Great Conferences.

First, attend the International Conference on Shared Parenting 2017 (ICSP 2017) on May 29-30, 2017 at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston.

Then attend AFCC 2017 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel immediately after the close of ICSP 2017 on May 30, 2017, a five minute walk from the Westin.

NPO-ICSP 2017 preliminary program available now! #NPO-ICSP2017 npo-icsp2017.org/program/

Registration & Housing for NPO-ICSP 2017 available now. Make sure to register by April 15 for our reduced early bird fees! npo-icsp2017.org/registrationhousing/

Questions can be directed to Parents@NationalParents Organization.org

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March 16, 2017. The Kansas City Star, Missouri; Press Release: “National Parents Organization Urges Missouri Lawmakers to Move Shared Parenting Forward,” Features National Parents Organization

Missouri lawmakers have the opportunity to improve children’s educational achievements, decrease their use of drugs, and improve their overall health and adjustment without any cost to the taxpayer by passing SB 377 and HB 724 into law. With these benefits to hundreds of thousands of Missouri children in mind, National Parents Organization urges legislators to immediately schedule hearings for the proposal with the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Seniors, Families and Children Committee.

See more

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February 19, 2017. The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia, “More Balanced Child Custody Proposed,” Features National Parents Organization

While this progress is encouraging, unfortunately there is much ground to make up. Recently the National Parents Organization Shared Parenting Report Card revealed that, nationwide, the custody laws in the U.S. do a poor job of promoting shared parenting. These developments coincide with the publication of a study in Sweden that shows the benefits of shared parenting. Last month, researchers found that children who spend time living with both separated parents are less stressed than those who live with just one.

See more

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NPO State Affiliates

National Parents Organization has affiliates in several states, providing volunteer and other resources to advance its national mission of family court reform and promote every child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce.

If you would like to get involved in the National Parents Organization affiliate in one of the states listed below, please contact the state affiliate chair by email. If there is no affiliate organization in your state and you are interested in starting one, please submit your information in the form here.

Alabama
Chair
Brian Ritchey BrianRitchey@nationalparentsorganization.org
California
Chair
Lisa Cunningham LisaCunningham@nationalparentsorganization.org
Colorado
Chair
Katie Rubano KatieRubano@nationalparentsorganization.org
Co-Chair Carl Roberts CarlRoberts@nationalparentsorganization.org
Legislative Chair Ashley Borges AshleyBorges@nationalparentsorganization.org
Public Relations and Community Outreach Director Carolyn MacCloud CarolynMacCloud@nationalparentsorganization.org
Media Director Michael Hering MichaelHering@nationalparentsorganization.org
Policy Director Shannon Painter ShannonPainter@nationalparentsorganization.org
Connecticut
Connecticut Organizing Committee CT@nationalparentsorganization.org
Georgia
Chair
Jason Ibarra JasonIbarra@nationalparentsorganization.org
Legislative Liaison David James DavidJames@nationalparentsorganization.org
Florida
Chair
Dawn Endria McCarty DawnEndriaMcCarty@nationalparentsorganization.org
Director of State Government Relations Michael David MichaelDavid@nationalparentsorganization.org
Hawaii
Chair
Chris Lethem ChrisLethem@nationalparentsorganization.org
Illinois
Chair
Zack Teague ZackTeague@nationalparentsorganization.org
Idaho
Chair
Jerry Papin JerryPapin@nationalparentsorganization.org
Kansas
Chair
Chris Batcheller ChrisBatcheller@nationalparentsorganization.org
Vice-Chair Maura Gathers MauraGathers@nationalparentsorganization.org
Kentucky
Chair
Matt Hancock MattHancock@nationalparentsorganization.org
Vice-Chair Jason Griffith JGriffith@nationalparentsorganization.org
Director of Women’s Outreach Alexandra Beckman AlexandraBeckman@nationalparentsorganization.org
Clinical Director of Family Preservation Jen Warawa JenWarawa@nationalparentsorganization.org
Maryland
Chair
Andrew Marshall AndrewMarshall@nationalparentsorganization.org
Massachusetts
Chair
Ned Holstein NedHolstein@nationalparentsorganization.org
Coordinator Richard Fucillo RichardFucillo@nationalparentsorganization.org
Minnesota
Chair
Matt Larson MattLarson@nationalparentsorganization.org
Missouri
Chair
Linda Reutzel LindaReutzel@nationalparentsorganization.org
New Jersey
Chair
Betzalel Rothstein BetzalelRothstein@nationalparentsorganization.org
Vice-Chair David Miller DavidMiller@nationalparentsorganization.org
New York
Chair
Jason Houck JasonHouck@nationalparentsorganization.org
North Carolina
Vice-Chair
Michelle Capps MichelleCapps@nationalparentsorganization.org
Military Liaison April Kirk AprilKirk@nationalparentsorganization.org
Ohio
Chair
Don Hubin DonHubin@nationalparentsorganization.org
Oregon
Chair
Sherrene Hagenbach-Winters Sherrene@nationalparentsorganization.org
Pennsylvania
Chair
Stephen Meehan StephenMeehan@nationalparentsorganization.org
Rhode Island
Chair
Lori Grover LoriGrover@nationalparentsorganization.org
South Carolina
Chair
Shannon Peoples ShannonPeoples@nationalparentsorganization.org
Texas
Chair
Anthony Brassil AnthonyBrassil@nationalparentsorganization.org
Director of Media and Communications Miles Olson MilesOlson@nationalparentsorganization.org
Legislative Liaison Diego Villasenor DiegoVillasenor@nationalparentsorganization.org
Utah
Chair
Michelle Jones MichelleJones@nationalparentsorganization.org
Chairman of Legislative Affairs Dan Deuel DanDeuel@nationalparentsorganization.org
Virginia
Co-Chair
Christian Paasch ChristianPaasch@nationalparentsorganization.org
Co-Chair Kristen Paasch KristenPaasch@nationalparentsorganization.org
Washington
Chair
Jim Clark JimClark@nationalparentsorganization.org
PR and Education Director Stephen Hicks StephenHicks@nationalparentsorganization.org
West Virginia
Chair
Chad Phillips CPhillips@nationalparentsorganization.org
Vice-Chair Dakota Collins DakotaCollins@nationalparentsorganization.org
Social Media & Women’s Outreach Samantha Smith SamanthaSmith@nationalparentsorganization.org
Wisconsin
Chair
Tony Bickel TonyBickel@nationalparentsorganization.org
Vice-Chair Rick Frazer RickFrazer@nationalparentsorganization.org
Social Media & Women’s Outreach Mary Ciano MaryCiano@nationalparentsorganization.org

Don’t see an affiliate in your state? Click here to sign up to start one!