June 23, 2017
NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION THANKS MICHIGAN LAWMAKERS FOR MOVING SHARED PARENTING FORWARD
MICHIGAN HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE PASSES HB 4691
National Parents Organization applauds the Michigan House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee for sending the message that fathers matter every day, not just on the recently celebrated Father’s Day. The message came by way of the committee passing House Bill 4691 on June 20.
“Research shows that children want and need fathers in their lives just as much as mothers after separation or divorce, and I want to thank the House Judiciary Committee for working to bring our state’s child custody laws in line with the data,” said Linda Wright, a mother and grandmother who’s actively involved in the legislation.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Runestad, supports shared parenting – a flexible arrangement where children spend as close to equal time with each parent as possible after divorce or separation. While U.S. Census data shows our family courts still favor sole custody to mom more than 80 percent of the time, Michigan is not alone in advancing shared parenting. States including Arizona, Alaska, Utah and Wisconsin are among the states with laws supportive of shared parenting, and Kentucky and Missouri have passed shared parenting reform in recent months. Plus, more than 20 states have considered shared parenting in recent years, according to The Wall Street Journal. Outside of the U.S., shared parenting has been the norm in Sweden and Australia for years, and research presented last month at the 2017 International Conference on Shared Parenting in Boston was overwhelmingly supportive of the two-parent model.
Michigan’s bill now heads to the House and Senate.
“For the sake of the thousands of Michigan families impacted by divorce or separation, I urge Michigan legislators and Gov. Snyder to swiftly move this bill into law when they return from break in September,” said Ned Holstein, MD, Founder and Board Chair of National Parents Organization. “Instead of setting up parents for a bitter and unnecessary custody battle, this proposal would allow families to heal from the pain of divorce from a position of equality and co-parenting.”
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.”
· In December, 2016, The American Psychological Association published research by William V. Fabricius of Arizona State University in the journal Psychology, Public Policy and Law entitled, “Should Infants and Toddlers Have Frequent Overnight Parenting Time With Fathers? The Policy Debate and New Data.” Prof Fabricius’ findings provide “… strong support for policies to encourage frequent overnight parenting time [up to and including 50/50 overnights –Ed] for infants and toddlers [even younger than one year –Ed], because the benefits [for children-Ed] associated with overnights also held for parents who initially agreed about overnights as well as for those who disagreed and had the overnight parenting plan imposed over 1 parent’s objections.” Fabricius will share details on his findings during the International Conference on Shared Parenting 2017, a May 29-30, 2017 event in Boston, Massachusetts hosted by National Parents Organization and the International Council on Shared Parenting.
Single Parenting Data
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.
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.