Press Releases

National Parents Organization Notes Child-Friendly Shared Parenting Legislation Advancing in Midwest States

March 16, 2018


Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Michigan Among Midwestern States with Bills

Amid this week’s news that shared parenting legislation passed the Iowa Senate, hit the Missouri House calendar, became law in Kentucky last year, and is also advancing in Kansas and Michigan, National Parents Organization applauds lawmakers in many Midwestern states.

“Thank you to the politicians that are acting on the overwhelming child development research showing children do best with shared parenting when their parents divorce or separate,” said Ned Holstein, MD, Founder and Chair of National Parents Organization. “These states will see improved children’s educational achievements, decreased use of drugs, a greater sense of childhood security, increased child support payments, and improved overall health and adjustment without any cost to the taxpayer – all by passing shared parenting into law.”

This latest legislative action is part of a nationwide trend. As The Washington Post reported, within the past year 25 states have considered legislation supportive of shared parenting – a child custody arrangement in which a child spends as close to equal time as possible with each parent.

The bills in Iowa, Missouri, Michigan and Kansas all include language encouraging, not mandating, judges to award shared parenting to fit parents. Specifically:

  • In Iowa, the Senate passed Senate Bill 2374 on March 12
  • In Missouri, House Bill 1667 passed out of the Judiciary Committee and Senate Bill 645 passed out of Seniors, Families and Children Committee.  The House bill is expected to be debated on the floor any day now.
  • In Kansas, legislators have heard Senate Bill 257
  • In Michigan, the number of members of the House who have indicated they would support House 4691, a shared parenting bill, has now climbed over 40; a recent survey of Michigan voters revealed that 84% supported shared parenting as the usual outcome if both parents are fit and there has been no domestic violence.

The proposals act on scientific evidence. Close to 60 research studies from numerous states and countries and spanning several decades show that most children with shared parenting benefit in many important ways compared to children placed into the primary care of just one parent. (see “Recent Research” below)

While shared parenting remains unusual in the United States, an accelerating trend toward shared parenting has developed in recent years. It has been the usual arrangement for several years in Sweden, Belgium, and Australia, and research there has shown much better outcomes for children. A handful of U.S. states have had similar laws for several years, and each year a couple more pass such laws – last year, Kentucky was added to that list.

“Passage of these bill will work to ensure that children receive the consistent love and care of both parents after separation or divorce,” Dr. Holstein said. “We can’t afford to allow our broken family court system to continue the sole custody status quo – our children can’t be deprived of either parent any longer.”

Shared Parenting Data

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 bonds with both parents, which is critically important to their emotional, mental, and physical health. National Parents Organization released the Shared Parenting Report Card, the first study to rank the states on child custody laws, and in 2017, National Parents Organization hosted the International Conference on Shared Parenting, bringing in research scholars from 18 countries to share their results on shared parenting. Visit the National Parents Organization website at

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