November 13th, 2014

State-by-State Analysis Highlights Parental Inequality Across the Nation

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November 13, 2014

NPO Logo National Parents Organization improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting every child’s right to the love and care of both parents
after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.
State-by-State Analysis Highlights Parental Inequality Across the Nation

By Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director, National Parents Organization

2014 Shared Parenting Report Card

National Parents Organization just released its 2014 Shared Parenting Report Card.  It is the first national study to provide a comprehensive ranking of the states on their child custody statutes, assessing them primarily on the degree to which they promote shared parenting after divorce or separation.

“Despite what you might believe, shared parenting is not the norm in instances of divorce and separation. In fact, family courts award sole custody, usually to the mother, in over 80 percent of child custody cases,” said Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S., Founder and Chair, National Parents Organization. “Our report highlights that many states are not only discouraging shared parenting, but they are also depriving children of what they benefit from most — ample time with both of their parents — while also enabling a system that fosters parental inequality.”

This study was motivated by the tremendous impact our nation’s family courts have on children whose parents are divorced or separated, and also by recent consensus statements by leading child development research organizations that confirm children thrive with shared parenting following separation or divorce. National Parents Organization 2014 Shared Parenting Report Card assigns each state a grade, A through F, to indicate the best and worst states for shared parenting — a flexible arrangement in which children enjoy the benefit of having both parents fully engaged in their lives after separation or divorce.

“Our findings reveal that a majority of states’ statutory provisions are behind the times, with most earning C’s and D’s,” said Don Hubin, Ph.D., who led the National Parents Organization research team and is  Director for the Center for Ethics and Human Values at The Ohio State University. “We hope that this study, coupled with research that demonstrates the many benefits of shared parenting, will encourage a new dialogue and will motivate our state legislatures and family courts to reexamine the impact they are having on our children.”

National Parents Organization’s research team has evaluated the child custody statutes of each state. In 45 states, the statutes address non-marital as well as marital children. In the remaining jurisdictions, we assessed only the statute pertaining to marital children. This is important to note because, according to recent U.S. Health and Human Services data, nearly 40% of children in our nation are born to unmarried parents. Read more…

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Family Law Reform Conference

A Personal Message From Founder of NPO Ned Holstein

Attend the family law reform conference and let us know you are attending.

Dear friends,

Please join me in a rare opportunity for personal growth and social reform: the Family Law Reform: the Conference hosted by Divorce Corp, November 15-16, 2014 in Alexandria, Virginia!

Family Law Reform Conference Press Release

This will be an unprecedented opportunity for you to learn about family court trends, meet leaders in the reform movement. Read more…

About Us
National Parents Organization
PO BOX 270760
Boston, Massachusetts 02127-0760
(617) 542-9300


Information Resources

> Share Your Story:

Members share stories of their children and families.
> Advice:
Our most frequently asked questions are posted with answers from experts.
> Forms and Documents:
Many forms and documents are common to many cases in your state or even across the United States.

Establish an Affiliation in Your State

National Parents Organization is working to build a strong affiliate in every state. What will it take to bring National Parents Organization to your state? Leadership. It takes a team of volunteers to organize in your state and to reach out to legislators, media, and other groups who will work with us to make shared parenting the norm.

If you are ready, please contact Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director. Together we can build an affiliate in your state.


This Park Rated ‘C;’ Adults Must Be Accompanied by Children to Enter

November 12, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Seriously folks, it’s come to this. In the United Kingdom, there’s an “adventure park” that prohibits lone adults from entering unless they’re accompanied by children. Honestly, I’d love to see the reactions of our dead ancestors or those of future generations not yet born. I’m convinced they’d either be howling with laughter or sobbing in despair, possibly a bit of both. Here’s the article (BBC, 11/10/14). Read more…

Texas Parents the Latest to Have Child Taken on Claim of ‘Medical Neglect’

November 10, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

It’s happening in Massachusetts, California, Illinois and now Texas. Children are being taken from parents by state child welfare employees who claim the parents are neglecting the children’s medical needs. Here’s a recent case (KCBD, 10/31/14). Of course, in certain cases, parents may well not be doing the right thing in dealing with medical issues their children are undergoing. But it’s no surprise that, in many cases, child protective services seize on the slightest of pretexts to take children from parents. Read more…

Carnell Alexander Update: As Predicted, an Attorney Appears

November 10, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

At last, Carnell Alexander has an attorney. Read about it here (WXYZ, 11/6/14).

Alexander is the Michigan man who’s been fighting an order that he pay child support for a child who’s not his. Here’s my first post on his case.
Read more…

Brianna Wolfson’s Memoir Shows the Damage Done to a Child by Divorce

November 9, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Everyone knows the pain divorce causes children. Everyone understands how that seismic change can upset everything in a child’s life and result in confusion, self-blame and acting out sometimes for years to come. But our understanding of those things can be abstract; we know, but we don’t feel it on a visceral level. That’s why this article is so important (Upworthy, 11/7/14). Read more…

Birmingham, UK Statue ‘Celebrates’ Fatherless Families

November 7, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Of all the many articles written objecting to the sculpture “A Real Birmingham Family,” by Gillian Wearing, none is better than this one (Telegraph, 11/3/14).

The sculpture, cost £150,000, at least some of which came from public coffers. It portrays two adult women and two children. One of the women is pregnant and each woman holds one child by the hand. It’s based on two actual women who live in Birmingham and their children. Read more…

Sherrill Small Sentenced to Life in Prison in Death of Toddler

November 6, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Sherrill Small was convicted of capital murder last Tuesday in the beating death of a toddler to whom she was foster mother. The Cameron, Texas jury deliberated about four hours before finding her guilty. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, so Small was sentenced to life in prison. Read about it here (KWTX, 11/6/14). Read more…

North Dakota: Measure 6 for Shared Parenting Fails at the Polls

November 6, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

North Dakotans overwhelmingly rejected Measure 6 on Tuesday that would have established a presumption of equal parenting in child custody cases in the state. Although precise figures aren’t available, over 60% of voters voted ‘No’ on the measure. Read more…




Volunteer to help NPO achieve our objectives in numerous legislative,legal and media campaigns by organizing at a local level, making change happen on the ground, in your State.

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Volunteer Testimonial

“I am excited to join National Parents Organization as their Military Parent Advocate. Military families are being broken apart because of a lack of understanding in the family law courts. I believe that children benefit from access to both parents, regardless of their military status. I look forward to advocating for legislation that protects military parents against discrimination in child custody determinations.”

Janet Graham
Janet Graham, Military
Parent Advocate


The opinions expressed herein are those of our guest authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Parents Organization or its Board of Directors.

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