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November 21, 2019 by Mark Bliss ~ Southeast Missourian

Area lawmakers will introduce bills for the 2020 state legislative session addressing everything from shared parenting to texting while driving.

Lawmakers can pre-file bills beginning next month.

State Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, said his top priority is to pass a shared-parenting bill. It would create a “rebuttal presumption” for parents in child-custody cases to receive equal time with their children, he said.

He introduced similar legislation last session, but it failed to pass.

“This is going to be a big push for me,” he said. “Most fatherlessness is created by outdated court systems, not abandonment, so I want to get that corrected.”

State Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, plans to offer a similar bill in the House. The goal, she said, is to force judges to start with the premise parents should be granted equal time with their children unless there is evidence showing such a move is not warranted.

Read the full article at the Southeast Missourian

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November 9, 2019 By Mark Bliss ~ Southeast Missourian

State Rep. Kathy Swan and state Sen. Wayne Wallingford are pushing legislation for shared parenting in custody cases.

The two Republican, Cape Girardeau lawmakers met recently with shared-parenting advocates in Cape Girardeau.

A documentary, “Erasing Family,” was shown Oct. 29 at The Concourse event center. The film explores the trauma experienced by children “when a loving, fit parent is erased from their lives due to separation and divorce,” said Linda Reutzel, who chairs the Missouri chapter of the National Parents Organization.

“Parents going through divorce should not fear losing significant parenting time with their children and, even more importantly, children should not feel abandoned by one of their parents,” she said in a news release.

Read more at The Southeast Missourian

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Fox News published a story about National Parents Organization's 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card. They noted that the states did slightly better than in 2014, with the average grade going from a D+ to a C-. 

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US News and World Report published a story on NPO's Shared Parenting Report Card. They noted that "the number of states that are considered a 'shared parenting state' (meaning they earned a C grade or better) increased from 26 in 2014 to 34 in 2019, but 17 states still remain in the D or F range."

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Originally published August 30, 2019 in the Courier Journal 

National Parents Organization's own Matt Hale has an op-ed in the Courier Journal in Kentucky, who used court statistics to debunk many myths about shared parenting. Some key takeaways:

"Kentucky’s family court caseload and domestic violence cases had been rising, which is expected because our state’s population is increasing. But, in early July 2017, that trend abruptly stopped and family court cases and domestic violence filings began declining..."

"The year before Kentucky had any shared parenting laws, beginning July 14, 2016, and lasting 365 days, there were 22,512 family court cases filed. They declined to 21,847 the year the partial shared parenting law began. When the complete shared parenting law took effect in the last 12 months, new cases plummeted to 19,991. In other words, Kentucky’s families filed to sue each other in family court more than 11% less despite the state’s population growth..."

"Domestic violence claims declined by 248 in 2017 when the partial shared parenting law was enacted. Further, the decline of domestic violence accelerated by dropping an additional 445 cases as the complete shared parenting law took effect in 2018 versus the prior year... "

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