HB 492 was initiated by National Parents Organization and sponsored by Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, and Representatives Jason Petrie, R-Elkton, and Robby Mills, R-Henderson. Petrie; Hale and Dr. Ryan Schroeder, University of Louisville Sociology Department chairman, testified supporting the law.
Matt Hale, chairman of the Kentucky affiliate of the National Parents Organization, said shared parenting is not a single, clearly defined concept. States that have adopted legislation have differed in how they apply shared parenting. Recent states to pass legislation include Missouri, which doesn’t require 50/50 sharing but encourages involvement by both parents, and Kentucky, where the governor recently signed a bill establishing a presumption of shared parenting and 50/50 custody in temporary custody cases where there is little likelihood of abuse and neglect.
The new law, House Bill 492, answers many Kentucky children’s prayers. The Easter bunny is bringing children a better chance to see both parents after a divorce.
Children in married families enjoy both their parents. Before the new law, children in divorced families enjoyed whichever parent the court picked (primary custody). These children may be allowed a short visit with the other parent.
However, the new law encourages a better arrangement called shared parenting. In shared parenting, children get to see both parents equally. Instead of a single parent winning, the children do.
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The bill, House Bill 492, received unanimous support in both the House (voted 97-0) and Senate (38-0), signaling a long overdue change in our family court's approach to awarding custody in instances of divorce. The new law is also supported by an overwhelming amount of research showing it is in a child's best interest to have as close to equal time with both parents in instances of divorce, particularly early on in the process.
"Children are now more likely to see both parents regularly after a divorce, which is a huge win for the children of Kentucky considering research consistently shows shared parenting is in the best interest of children when their parents divorce," said Matt Hale, Chair of National Parents Organization of Kentucky. "Plus, parents are no longer in the high-conflict winner win all and loser lose all situation."
The fact that she was comfortable making these statements on national television says a lot by itself. Moreover, these comments are ultimately not helpful to the many men and women who are working very hard to achieve gender equality. To be clear, women have faced (and continue to face) their share of sexist comments. Those comments are as equally inaccurate and unhelpful as Ms. Parker’s comments about men during the Women’s March. This op-ed focuses on how Ms. Parker’s comments are indicative of a larger, systemic issue in our society, and that we must overcome that kind of divisive rhetoric for all our sakes.
Thankfully, Missouri legislators are currently considering legislation that embraces parental equality and encourages our state’s judges to award shared parenting, a flexible arrangement where children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent.
The pay gap is most pronounced among married women with children (it’s often referred to as “the motherhood penalty”). The total failure of federal and corporate policies to support working mothers means that the outmoded idea that a successful career and family life are mutually exclusive still often manifests itself in a woman’s salary. Introducing comprehensive paid-leave policies is a critical step forward, but to Ned Holstein, a physician and the founder of the National Parents Organization (NPO), it doesn’t fully account for everyone affected by unequal pay policies—specifically, mothers who are separated or divorced from their partners.
The laws cause immense hardship for those who must support an ex-spouse until he dies or she dies, even for marriages of fewer than 10 years and even to healthy women who begin collecting at 33 years old.
Current alimony law in Florida is emotionally and financially harmful to many families. As an example, many couples who wish to tie the knot are forgoing marriage because, under current Florida law, income from the “new” spouse can go toward alimony payments of the ex-spouse.
The current alimony laws are unfair, not just to the payers but to their children, their new spouses — and even the recipients, who are told never move on with their lives, and who remain on lifetime welfare. The public thinks it’s unfair — and so do most of Florida’s legislators. Twice now, once in 2013, and again in 2016, Florida legislators have voted to update the laws with new limits and plenty of room for judges to make decisions in unusual cases. Unfortunately, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the bill both times.
Today, evidence showing shared parenting – a flexible arrangement where children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent – is in the best interest of children is overwhelming. Child development experts published by the American Psychological Association were clear in their 2014 consensus report: “Shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages.”
To honor the intent of National Single Parents Day, government officials who value families must do more to support and protect relationships with both parents.