NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION
November 13, 2014
NATIONAL STUDY GRADES STATES FOR SHARED PARENTING AFTER DIVORCE STATE-BY-STATE ANALYSIS HIGHLIGHTS PARENTAL INEQUALITY ACROSS THE NATION
BOSTON – National Parents Organization announced today the release of its 2014 Shared Parenting Report Card, an inaugural report issuing state-by-state grades in the nation’s first comprehensive review of child custody statutes as they relate to shared parenting in instances of divorce and separation.
“Despite what you might believe, shared parenting is not the norm in instances of divorce and separation. In fact, family courts award sole custody, usually to the mother, in over 80 percent of child custody cases,” said Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S., Founder and Chair of National Parents Organization. “Our report highlights that many states are not only discouraging shared parenting, but they are also depriving children of what they benefit from most – ample time with both of their parents – while also enabling a system that fosters parental inequality.”
The National Parents Organization 2014 Shared Parenting Report Card assigns each state a grade, A through F, to indicate the best and worst states for shared parenting – a flexible arrangement in which children enjoy the benefit of having both parents fully engaged in their lives after separation or divorce.
“Our report comes at a historic moment,” Dr. Holstein said. “In the first eight months of 2014, three separate, highly regarded reviews of decades of child development research have concluded that shared parenting is best for children. Our report is intended to take the conversation one step further by assessing which states are embracing this knowledge and which states are continuing to rely on precedents set in the 50s.”
“Our findings reveal that a majority of states’ statutory provisions are behind the times, with most earning C’s and D’s,” said Don Hubin, Ph.D., who led the National Parents Organization research team and is Director for the Center for Ethics and Human Values at The Ohio State University. “We hope that this study, coupled with research that demonstrates the many benefits of shared parenting, will encourage a new dialogue and will motivate our state legislatures and family courts to reexamine the impact they are having on our children.”
In compiling the report, National Parents Organization’s research team evaluated our 50 states’ child custody statutes and examined specific areas of the statutes to determine each grade. As a result, the report provides an unprecedented, nationwide look at shared parenting – defined as joint legal custody and shared physical custody.
“Shared parenting gives children what they most want and need – the constant loving care of both parents,” said Rita Fuerst Adams, M.B.A., National Executive Director of National Parents Organization. “For this reason, our courts should be striving to provide children as much time with both parents as possible after divorce or separation. However, as this report demonstrates, far too many states are missing the mark when it comes to shared parenting, parental equality and supporting the best interests of children.”
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. Visit the National Parents Organization website at www.nationalparentsorganization.org
Ned Holstein, MD, MS
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.