NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

September 23, 2019 by Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Chairman Emeritus

As other states move ahead on a crucial matter of social justice, Massachusetts lags behind by failing to promote shared parenting for parents who do not live together.

The absence of a father is a stronger predictor of a troubled life journey for a child than is race or poverty. There is little reason to expect changes in rates of divorce or childbearing outside of marriage such that 25% of children grow up without a father in the home. But we can help these children immensely by enacting shared parenting — a flexible arrangement that ensures that a child spends no less than 35% of her time with each separated parent, if both parents are fit and there has been no domestic violence.

Abundant research from at least 18 countries has shown beyond any reasonable doubt that the great majority of children do better with this arrangement, despite the best efforts of loving single mothers.

The 2019 Shared Parenting Report Card, a just-released study of all 50 states by National Parents Organization, shows that many states have moved forward in the past five years on this critical matter, with nine states having passed legislative changes since 2014 that improved their grades, on average, from a D+ to a B-. There has been no change in Massachusetts custody law despite years of advocacy. While shared parenting legislation has passed the Massachusetts House at least twice, it has died in the Senate each time.

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