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Honor National Parents’ Day with Shared Parenting: State Legislatures Should Consider Parental Equality, Family Court Reform


July 20, 2016

BOSTON, MA – With National Parents’ Day approaching on Sunday, July 24, National Parents Organization urges citizens and legislators nationwide to recognize the day by supporting shared parenting legislation in numerous states.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton established the fourth Sunday of every July as Parents’ Day, intended for “recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children,” according to the Congressional resolution. The bipartisan, multiracial and interfaith coalition of religious, civic and elected leaders aimed to promote responsible parenting and draw attention to parental role models, especially for our nation’s children.

Seemingly inherent in the creation of this national day of commemoration is the idea that both parents – mothers and fathers – play an equally vital role in a child’s upbringing, a reality that is reflected in family law reforms currently being considered in more than 20 states, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“The evidence showing shared parenting is in the best interest of children when parents divorce or separate is now overwhelming. With this in mind, backing family law reform that seeks to move shared parenting from rare to common in divorce courtrooms is a terrific way to support ‘the best possible environment’ for children,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization.

Efforts to turn shared parenting – a flexible arrangement where children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent – from the exception into the norm have recently gained traction in Missouri, where Gov. Jay Nixon recently signed into law a bill encouraging judges to order shared parent custody agreements. The bill also includes outlines for joint custody arrangements and prevents family courts from deeming one parent more qualified based on gender. According to Dr. Holstein, supporting similar statewide legislation in your community is the best way to honor parents and children on this day.

“Millions of American children are suffering from the outmoded practices of the family courts awarding custody to just one parent, with only a few days per month of parenting time with the other parent. This custody model is not in the best interest of most children. It causes heartache for children, who ardently desire the love and guidance of both parents. And such children do more poorly in school, have higher rates of substance abuse, drop out more frequently, and have higher rates of delinquency, gang activity and trouble with the law,” Dr. Holstein said. “This National Parents’ Day, let’s work together to help give children of single parents what they most want and need – the constant love and support of both parents.”


Shared Parenting Data

   The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health published a 150,000-person study titled “Fifty moves a year: Is there an association between joint physical custody and psychosomatic problems in children?” in May 2015 that concluded shared parenting after divorce or separation is in the best interest of children’s health because the arrangement lowers their stress levels.

   The Journal of the American Psychological Association published a paper titled “Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report” in 2014, and the conclusions were endorsed by 110 eminent authorities around the world. Authored by Dr. Richard Warshak at the University of Texas, the paper concluded, “… shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children.”

   The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) published the recommendations of 32 family law experts in 2014, and the group concluded, “Children’s best interests are furthered by parenting plans that provide for continuing and shared parenting relationships that are safe, secure, and developmentally responsive and that also avoid a template calling for a specific division of time imposed on all families.”

Single Parenting Data

According to federal statistics from sources including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Census Bureau, children raised by single parents account for:

•       63% of teen suicides;

•       70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions;

•       71% of high school drop-outs;

•       75% of children in chemical abuse centers;

•       85% of those in prison;

•       85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders; and

•       90% of homeless and runaway children.


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

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