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NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION | PRESS RELEASE
February 22, 2018

NATIONAL PARENTS ORGANIZATION OF MICHIGAN HOSTS FAMILY COURT & CHILD CUSTODY COMMUNITY FORUM
Michigan Family Courts Create 13,000 Single-Parent Households Each Year

As The Washington Post recently reported, Michigan is one of 25 states considering legislation that seeks to move shared parenting from the exception to the norm following divorce and separation. In light of the state’s bill, National Parents Organization of Michigan invites the media and public to attend a meeting on the family court reform trend.

The details on the event:

·         6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 8, The Farmington Community Library Auditorium, 32737 W. 12 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills, Michigan 48334“Family Court & Child Custody Community Forum” – National Parents Organization of Michigan hosts an informational meeting on shared parenting with Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, sponsor of the proposed reform, House Bill 4691. Rep Runestad invites the public to attend and share opinions on the topic.

National Parents Organization stresses that the proposed legislation will make it much easier for loving parents to win “shared parenting,” a flexible arrangement in which children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after divorce or separation. HB 4691, which carries the title of Michigan Shared Custody Act, gained momentum when it approved by the Michigan House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee last year. Additionally, in the fall, a poll conducted by Marketing Resource Group revealed 84 percent of Michigan voters support children receiving equal time with both parents after a divorce.

“Anyone who has been through a custody battle under the existing law knows that change is needed, and now Michigan has an historic opportunity to support legislation that research shows is what children desperately want and need – and that’s not one, but both loving parents actively involved in their lives,” said Grand Rapids mother and grandmother Linda Wright, who serves as Chair of National Parents Organization of Michigan. “I’m excited for the citizens of our state to learn more about this family friendly proposal through the upcoming events.”

The state’s bill was prompted in part by the fact that the Michigan family court system creates an estimated 13,000 single-parent households each year. In turn, the legislation proposes an initial presumption that both parents should have substantially equal parenting time with children after divorce.

While U.S. Census data shows our family courts still favor sole custody to mom more than 80 percent of the time, Michigan is far from 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 the past couple of years. Plus, half of the U.S. states have considered shared parenting this year alone. Outside of the U.S., shared parenting has been the norm in Sweden for years, and research presented this spring at the 2017 International Conference on Shared Parenting in Boston was overwhelmingly supportive of the two-parent model. 

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."
  • Professor Linda Nielsen of Wake Forest University summarized a paper of hers that is about to be published as follows:  “In 42 of the 51 studies, children who lived in shared physical custody families had better outcomes than children who lived in sole physical custody families. In 4 of the 51 studies the outcomes were mixed, meaning that children in shared physical custody did better on some outcomes and worse on others. In 5 of the 51 studies, the children did equally well in both types of families. It is important to note that, in the studies that considered family income and parental conflict before comparing the children’s outcomes, children in the shared physical custody families still had better outcomes.”
  • 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.”
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 bonds with both parents, which is critically important to their emotional, mental, and physical health. National Parents Organization released the Shared Parenting Report Card, the first study to rank the states on child custody laws, and in 2017, National Parents Organization hosted the International Conference on Shared Parenting, bringing in research scholars from 18 countries to share their results on shared parenting. Visit the National Parents Organization website at www.nationalparentsorganization.org

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