Press Releases

National Parents Organization Supports Maryland’s Shared Parenting Legislation



February 25, 2016


National Parents Organization applauds Maryland legislators who are acting on the persuasive body of research showing shared parenting is in the best interest of children in most cases when parents divorce or separate.

Maryland legislators joined the national movement to reform the family courts and support shared parenting – a flexible arrangement in which children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after separation or divorce – with the filing of identical bills, SB0962, titled Children’s Rights & Parental Rights – Shared Parenting Time Act for Family Equality, and HB1386, titled Rebuttable Presumption of Joint Custody. The Senate bill will be heard at 1 p.m. on March 8 by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, and the House bill will be heard at 1 p.m. on March 9 by the House Judiciary Committee.

The legislation proposes adding language to the state’s child custody law to emphasize that shared parenting is in the best interest of the child when fit parents divorce or separate – a change that would encourage judges to pay more attention to research on children’s best interests. The move could be a significant change, considering shared parenting occurs less than 20 percent of the time after separation or divorce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Thank you, Maryland lawmakers, for standing up for what children most want and need. I urge all state legislators to waste no time in moving this historic proposal forward,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, MD, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization. “Millions of American children are suffering from the outmoded practices of the family courts of 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.”

While shared parenting is unusual, efforts to turn it from the exception to the norm within family courts are growing. For instance, The Wall Street Journal recently revealed that nearly 20 states have proposed shared parenting laws. At least three states have recently implemented reform, and numerous states are currently considering shared parenting legislation. Additionally, shared parenting has received high-profile endorsements, including support from the Catholic Church as well as the 2015 International Conference on Shared Parenting.

Aaron Bates, a Maryland father and leader of National Parents Organization of Maryland, said, “Maryland families, especially our children, have unnecessarily suffered for too long. The solution is simple. Children need not one, but both parents, and now is the time for Maryland to step up and pass this common sense proposal.”


Shared Parenting Data

  • 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 at

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