June 14, 2016
MISSOURI GOVERNOR ENCOURAGED TO SIGN SHARED PARENTING BILL ON FATHERLESS DAY
CAPITOL RALLIES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY MARK THE DAY
National Parents Organization has invited Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to sign the state’s shared parenting legislation during the annual Fatherless Day rally at the Missouri Capitol on Friday, June 17.
“I can’t think of a more historic moment for Missouri families than for the Governor to, with the stroke of his pen, turn an event focus away from the court-ordered fatherlessness crisis and toward the solution of shared parenting after divorce or separation,” Dr. Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization, said. “What’s more, the wonderful fathers all across the state who have been unnecessarily pushed out of their children’s lives by our broken family court system as well as their children who have suffered as a result could then look toward Father’s Day this Sunday with reason to celebrate.”
HB 1550 was sent to Gov. Nixon for signature late last month following the Missouri legislature’s overwhelming support of the bill – it unanimously passed the Senate, and the House supported it 154-2. The legislation supports shared parenting – a flexible arrangement where children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after divorce or separation. Fatherless Day, which is recognized with Capitol rallies throughout the country, continues to fall two days ahead of Father’s Day each year and raises awareness of our nation’s fatherlessness epidemic.
“The family court tradition of relegating loving fathers to visitor status in their children’s lives perpetuates the fatherlessness crisis, which has a devastating impact on our children. Fortunately, with HB 1150, Missouri now has the opportunity to support what research increasingly concludes – that children desperately want and need shared parenting after divorce or separation,” Dr. Holstein said.
Despite the research, shared parenting remains unusual – sole custody persists nearly 80 percent of the time, according to the U.S. Census. However, a broad trend towards shared parenting has developed in recent years. A handful of states have benefited from laws supportive of the arrangement for several years. In the past couple of years, a few more states including Utah, South Dakota and Minnesota, have added laws that encourage shared parenting. As the Wall Street Journal revealed, nearly 20 more states have considered similar proposals over the past eight months.
National Parents Organization of Missouri member Linda Reutzel, a mother and grandmother, said, “As someone who has seen first-hand how our current family court system contributes to fatherlessness, I can’t think of a better way to both recognize Fatherless Day and celebrate Father’s Day than for our Governor to walk up to Friday’s rally and sign HB 1550 into law.”
RECENT RESEARCH: SHARED PARENTING VERSUS SINGLE PARENTING
Shared Parenting Data
- The Journal of the American Psychological Association published a paper titled “Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report” in 2014, and the conclusions were endorsed by 110 eminent authorities around the world. Authored by Dr. Richard Warshak at the University of Texas, the paper concluded, “... shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children.”
- In 2016, Dr. Warshak wrote, “Two years after its publication, the conclusions and recommendations of the Warshak consensus report remain supported by science.” He also wrote, “The paper has been translated into at least eighteen languages and has informed legislative deliberations throughout the U.S. and parliamentary deliberations in several countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, Finland, Romania, Croatia, and Sweden. Two years after its publication, the consensus report continues to be one of the most downloaded papers from the journal’s website.” He added, “The list of endorsers and their stature and accomplishments reflect the field’s general acceptance of the consensus report’s findings as rooted in settled science from more than four decades of research directly relevant to this topic, including seminal studies by many of the endorsers.”
- The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health published a 150,000-person study titled “Fifty moves a year: Is there an association between joint physical custody and psychosomatic problems in children?” in May 2015 that concluded shared parenting after divorce or separation is in the best interest of children’s health because the arrangement lowers their stress levels.
- The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) published the recommendations of 32 family law experts in 2014, and the group concluded, “Children’s best interests are furthered by parenting plans that provide for continuing and shared parenting relationships that are safe, secure, and developmentally responsive and that also avoid a template calling for a specific division of time imposed on all families.”
According to federal statistics from sources including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Census Bureau, children raised by single parents account for:
• 63% of teen suicides;
• 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions;
• 71% of high school drop-outs;
• 75% of children in chemical abuse centers;
• 85% of those in prison;
• 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders; and
• 90% of homeless and runaway children.
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S., Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization
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, Dr. 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 serves on the faculty.
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. In 2014, National Parents Organization released the Shared Parenting Report Card, the first study to rank the states on child custody laws. Visit the National Parents Organization website at www.nationalparentsorganization.org.