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Divorcing parents who don’t agree on custody would share time with children equally by default – unless a court finds clear evidence that they shouldn’t – under a Kansas bill.

Similar measures are cropping up in states across the country as part of a push to promote involvement by fathers and co-parenting.

Proponents say the measures are better for children. They point to research showing benefits for children raised by two parents. But critics contend creating a presumption of equal time discourages parents from reaching their own agreement.

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Maryland family courtrooms could become a happier place for Maryland children – if state lawmakers act on an opportunity to reform child custody laws. As a recent Washington Post editorial highlighted, Maryland lawmakers are considering recommendations from a special commission that studied child custody decisions.

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The commonwealth is at a crossroads. It is a crossroads of opportunity, truth, and what’s actually best for children and families, intact or divorced/separated. Shared parenting (or shared/joint physical custody) has been presented to Virginia’s General Assembly several times over the past decade, but never has it been more timely.

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The chance to brighten the lives of children through reform of custody laws has rightly become a major issue in Maryland.

As a recent Washington Post editorial highlighted, Maryland lawmakers are considering recommendations from a special commission that studied child custody decisions.

The news hits at a time when, according to a Post article, 25 states have considered laws supportive of shared parenting after divorce in the past year. Plus, a handful of states have passed such laws in the past, and several others have come very close to doing so.

This ferment is due to the little-known fact that the family courts in most states still create custody battles in which the victorious parent becomes the “custodial” parent, and the loser becomes the every-other-weekend parent.

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Being cared for and loved by two parents is the optimum situation for any child. In fact, it should be every child's right. Unfortunately, many states in the U.S. fall short of protecting the rights of American children when parents divorce.

Surprisingly, not one state in the union was able to pass with flying colors, Massachusetts earning a mediocre C-plus from The National Parents Organization when it considered the status of how and when marital children of divorce are allocated time spent with both parents. New York, received an F, with no statutes in place for encouraging shared parenting, relying instead on the less powerful legal precedent of Braiman vs. Braiman.

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The every-other-weekend dad, born from two generations of soaring divorce rates, once was a conventional part of American culture. In recent years, more couples have been agreeing to parent after divorce as they did in marriage: collaboratively.

Now lawmakers are accelerating this trend toward co-parenting, with legislatures in more than 20 states considering bills this year that would encourage shared parenting or make it a legal presumption — even when parents disagree.

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The every-other-weekend dad, born from two generations of soaring divorce rates, once was a conventional part of American culture. In recent years, more couples have been agreeing to parent after divorce as they did in marriage: collaboratively.

Now lawmakers are accelerating this trend toward co-parenting, with legislatures in more than 20 states considering bills this year that would encourage shared parenting or make it a legal presumption — even when parents disagree.

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The every-other-weekend dad, born from two generations of soaring divorce rates,was once a conventional part of American culture. In recent years, more couples have been agreeing to parent after divorce as they did in marriage: collaboratively.

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National Parents Organization thanks The Washington Post for shining a light on efforts to move shared parenting from the exception to the norm following divorce and separation, and encourages lawmakers throughout the nation to support the trend.

The Post’s Dec. 12 front page article, headlined “More than 20 states in 2017 considered laws to promote shared custody of children after divorce,” revealed about half our nation’s state legislatures this year have considered bills supportive of shared parenting, rather than the sole custody status quo. The Post included a map showing the 25 states that have considered proposals. A handful of states already have laws supportive of shared parenting.

“Many of the legislative gains recently have been propelled by the National Parents Organization, a group with roots in the fathers’ rights movement but now a broadened focus on children’s rights and parental equality,” the article said.

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The legal push for custody arrangements is in large part a result of years of lobbying by fathers' rights advocates who feel alienated from their children and burdened by child-support obligations. These groups, including the National Parents Organization, are gaining new traction with support from across the political spectrum, as more lawmakers respond to this appeal for gender equality and, among some conservatives, the frustration of a newly emboldened constituency of men who say they are being shortchanged.

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