NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION
March 21, 2017
SHARED PARENTING FORWARD
Lawmakers across the country have the opportunity to improve children’s educational achievements, decrease their use of drugs, and improve their overall health and social adjustment without any cost to the taxpayer. All this can be done simply: by passing shared parenting into law. With these benefits to hundreds of thousands of children in mind, National Parents Organization urges legislators in states with active shared parenting bills – this encompasses half of the states in the U.S. – to move the reform forward. These states include:
· New Hampshire
· New York
· North Dakota
· South Carolina
· South Dakota
· West Virginia
Legislation introduced in these statesembraces parental equality and shared parenting – a flexible arrangement where children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after divorce or separation, if both parents are fit and there has been no domestic violence.
“Passage of these bills will work to ensure children receive the consistent love and care of not one, but both parents after separation or divorce,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization. “We can’t afford to allow our broken family court system to continue with the sole custody status quo – our children can’t be deprived of either parent any longer. Thank you to the state legislators who recognized this pressing need by sponsoring this crucial legislation.”
While shared parenting remains unusual in the United States due to the sole custody tradition, a trend toward shared parenting has developed in recent years. It has been the usual arrangement for several years in Sweden and Australia, and research there has shown much better outcomes for children. In addition, a handful of states in the U.S. have had shared parenting laws in place for several years. Plus, in the last year alone, Missouri passed a bill viewed as good first step on the road toward shared parenting, and reform in Florida made it all the way to the Governor’s desk. These changes are supported by a swelling body of research showing that shared parenting is in the best interest of children when their parents divorce or separate.
“Shared parenting legislation kills several birds with one stone. It eliminates toxic custody battles, which in turn preserves tens of thousands of dollars that can be used for children instead of lawyers. It supports gender equality for men, and frees up women to help close the pay gap. Most important, it serves the best interest of children in most cases, recognizing that children desperately want and need ample time with both beloved parents,” Holstein said. “I urge state lawmakers to swiftly move these proposals into law. Instead of setting up parents for a bitter and unnecessary custody battle, these bills will allow families to heal from the pain of divorce and separation from a position of parental equality.”
RECENT RESEARCH: SHARED PARENTING VERSUS SINGLE PARENTING
Shared Parenting Data
· In December, 2016, The American Psychological Association published research by William V. Fabricius of Arizona State University in the journal Psychology, Public Policy and Law titled, “Should Infants and Toddlers Have Frequent Overnight Parenting Time With Fathers? The Policy Debate and New Data.” Prof Fabricius’ findings provide “… strong support for policies to encourage frequent overnight parenting time [up to and including 50/50 overnights –Ed] for infants and toddlers [even younger than one year –Ed], because the benefits [for children-Ed] associated with overnights also held for parents who initially agreed about overnights as well as for those who disagreed and had the overnight parenting plan imposed over 1 parent’s objections.” Fabricius will share details on his findings during the International Conference on Shared Parenting 2017, a May 29-30, 2017 event in Boston, Mass., hosted by National Parents Organization and the International Council on Shared Parenting.
· 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.”
· In 2016, Dr. Warshak wrote, “Two years after its publication, the conclusions and recommendations of the Warshak consensus report remain supported by science.” He also wrote, “The paper has been translated into at least eighteen languages and has informed legislative deliberations throughout the U.S. and parliamentary deliberations in several countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, Finland, Romania, Croatia, and Sweden. Two years after its publication, the consensus report continues to be one of the most downloaded papers from the journal’s website.” He added, “The list of endorsers and their stature and accomplishments reflect the field’s general acceptance of the consensus report’s findings as rooted in settled science from more than four decades of research directly relevant to this topic, including seminal studies by many of the endorsers.”
· 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 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 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.
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.
ABOUT NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION
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 www.