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The National Parents Organization, which advocates for shared parenting, has been a proponent of such legislation around the country, citing studies that show maximizing time with both parents is beneficial to children. Research has established that shared parenting helps children do better in school and on standardized tests and reduces the risks of emotional disorders, substance abuse and depression, said Ned Holstein, founder of the nonprofit group.

“Overwhelming evidence now shows that kids do better with lots of residential time with both parents. It’s very common for parents to get shared legal custody, but that doesn’t help kids do better in all the ways I’ve mentioned. Shared legal custody is basically the right to have a say, but the heart of parenting isn’t just the right to participate in the big decisions, it’s being involved in the multitude of little decisions,” Holstein said.

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Virginia is among the growing list of states considering legislation to enact shared parenting - a flexible arrangement that gives children approximately 35-50 percent of time with each parent – after divorce. The bill is set to hit the Senate floor any day now, and Christian Paasch, founder of the Virginia Chapter of the National Parents Organization, discussed what this could mean for local families.

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Ned Holstein, founder and board chair of the National Parents Organization, joins the show to discuss how many of those who commit murder in mass shootings come from fatherless homes.

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As our nation mourns the lives lost in the Florida mass shooting, the dialogue again turns into a conversation on the causes of this latest tragedy. Gun regulations, mental health issues and the FBI’s failure to follow up on concerns dominate headlines.

That said, there is a significant underlying and common thread connecting these shooters that continues to be overlooked — fatherless children. While there are special interests that defend the status quo in family court proceedings, the truth is that 80 percent of child custody cases result in one parent having primary custody and the other — most commonly the father — relegated to the role of visitor in his child’s life.

Fortunately, Kansas and Missouri legislators are considering shared parenting legislation — Kansas Senate Bill 257 and Missouri Senate Bill 645 — that would make certain children impacted by divorce do not lose the important bonds they have with both parents.

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The founder of the National Parents Organization has told RT that special interests in the law industry are blocking reforms that would give fathers more rights to see their children following divorce.There are over one million divorces every year in the United States. The system for dealing with family break-ups was introduced by President Gerald Ford in 1975. It was designed to punish men who did not want to be responsible for their children, not fathers who wanted to play an active role in their child's life.

Courts rule in favor of mothers in five out of every six custodial hearings. Statistics also show that custodial mothers are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty as custodial fathers.

Dr. Ned Holstein, the founder of the National Parents Organization, which promotes shared parenting legislation, argues that the legal establishment is preventing reform.

“This is a classic case of special interests versus what the public generally believes,” he said to Manila Chan of RT America.

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Missouri legislators are considering two proposals encouraging shared parenting when parents divorce or separate: Senate Bill 645 and House Bill 1667.

The House bill unanimously passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last week, and after three years of educating legislators about the benefits of shared parenting, including passage of a new state law in 2016, we feel this is the year that a “rebuttable presumption” of equal parenting time can actually be passed into law.

Essentially, the proposal translates into starting the family court conversation at shared parenting, versus the sole custody status quo. The bottom line: Research overwhelmingly points to shared parenting as the best scenario for children, their families and society after divorce or separation, and this proposal seeks to align our laws with scientific evidence.

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The Massachusetts Legislature’s sweeping reform of the criminal statutes does well to focus on the prevention of crime, but it lacks a simple measure proven to decrease crime: shared parenting, versus sole custody, after parents divorce.

In the spring of 2016, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a shared parenting bill written by a blue-ribbon Task Force appointed by former Governor Deval Patrick, but the Senate did not act on the bill before the Legislature adjourned. We can help solve our high crime rates with shared parenting. We have known this for years, but have not acted – so Massachusetts lawmakers should enact the Task Force’s bill now.

This may seem like a different matter altogether. But to understand the connection between divorce law and crime, first examine a straightforward fact – 85 percent of prisoners were raised in single-parent households without fathers. There is abundant evidence supporting the idea that fatherlessness is a potent cause of crime. People who have grown up in high crime neighborhoods know this well. Denzel Washington, for instance, just reminded us of the crisis of fatherlessness as the root cause of crime in his childhood neighborhoods.

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