NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION
August 26, 2016
On Women’s Equality Day – Friday, August 26 – National Parents Organization encourages family courts throughout the nation to support women’s equality efforts by embracing shared parenting.
An increasing amount of research shows that shared parenting, or 50/50 custody, is most beneficial to children’s health and wellbeing in instances of divorce or separation, when both parents are fit. Shared parenting is equally advantageous to mothers and women’s equality. In addition to happier, healthier children, one key benefit is that shared parenting allows moms to pursue ambitious careers and narrow the “pay gap.”
The notorious “pay gap” for women cannot be closed unless we reform the practices of our family courts. After married parents divorce or unmarried parents separate, the family courts assign sole custody of the children to the mother almost 90 percent of the time. Because such divorces and separations are so common, about 30 percent of all mothers in the United States are single moms, each of them having to do perhaps 90 percent of the child rearing.
“This makes it impossible for all but the most energetic and talented to pursue an ambitious career, one that would help close the pay gap. In contrast, widespread shared parenting after separation or divorce would allow millions of mothers to pursue high-paying, ambitious careers. Plus, it would be far better for children to have both parents actively involved in their raising,” said Dr. Ned Holstein, National Parents Organization’s Founder and Board Chair.
Acting in favor of this commonsense solution that is in the best interest of parents and children alike, a handful of states, including Missouri, Utah, South Dakota, and Minnesota, have passed laws that are beginning to move shared parenting from the exception to the norm. More than 20 states have considered similar proposals.
“Shared parenting is an all-around win,” said Dr. Ned Holstein. “As we pause to celebrate Women’s Equality Day, I can’t think of a better way to help single moms than to make shared parenting the norm after separation or divorce.”
RECENT RESEARCH: SHARED PARENTING VERSUS SINGLE PARENTING
Shared Parenting Data
· 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 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.
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.nationalparentsorganization.org.