NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION | PRESS RELEASE
April 8, 2018
Boston, MA – National Parents Organization urges citizens and legislators nationwide to recognize Equal Pay Dayon Tuesday, April 10, by supporting shared parenting legislation across the country.
Nearly 30% of mothers are single mothers. The current sole custody model assigns mothers nearly 90 percent of the parenting time after separation or divorce, which limits their time to pursue career goals.
“When children have as close to equal time as possible with each parent, moms and dads also have equal time for their careers,” said Ned Holstein, MD, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization. “And since almost 30 percent of mothers are saddled with nearly full-time single parenting, the pay gap cannot be closed without shared parenting.”
“Our family courts need to stop placing sole responsibility for child rearing on the mother and encourage their career achievements by allowing dad to assume equal responsibility for raising children,” Dr. Holstein said. “Shared parenting is most important for the children, who want and need equal time with mom and dad following divorce. But shared parenting also has benefits for the parents, including promoting equal opportunity to accomplish professional goals.”
While shared parenting – a flexible arrangement where children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent – is unusual, efforts to turn it from the exception to the norm within family courts are growing. The Washington Post reports that, within the past year, more than 20 states have considered the reform in the past year. Several states have recently implemented reform, and numerous others – including Virginia, Missouri, Michigan and Alabama – 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 and the Council of Europe.
“Shared parenting gets rid of the outdated model of one homemaker and one breadwinner and allows both parents the time to pursue a successful work-life balance,” Dr. Holstein said. “The evidence showing shared parenting is in the best interest of children when parents divorce or separate is overwhelming. With this in mind, backing family law reform that seeks to move shared parenting from rare to common in courtrooms is a terrific way to support the best possible environment for children. This Equal Pay Day, let’s work together to help give children of single parents what they most want and need – love, time and support from both parents.”
RECENT RESEARCH: SHARED PARENTING VERSUS SINGLE PARENTING
Shared Parenting Data
- In January 2018, The Journal of Child Custody published an update on child development research surrounding what’s best for kids when parents divorce or separate. In the update, Linda Nielsen, a Wake Forest University professor of adolescent and educational psychology, analyzed 60 studies spanning multiple decades and numerous countries. She concluded that shared parenting is better for children than single parenting on almost every measure of wellbeing.
- In September 2017, Acta Paediatrica, a peer-reviewed medical journal in the field of pediatrics, published a paper by Swedish researcher Malin Bergstrom of the Karolinska Institute titled “Preschool children living in joint physical custody arrangements show less psychological symptoms than those living mostly or only with one parent” – it concluded the mental health of children ages three to five with shared parenting is better on average than the mental health of those in the care of a single parent.
- 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 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 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.”
- 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 entitled, “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 shared details on his findings during the International Conference on Shared Parenting 2017, a May 29-30, 2017 event in Boston, Massachusetts hosted by National Parents Organization and the International Council on Shared Parenting.
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.
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 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 www.nationalparentsorganization.org.