September 24, 2019 by Maressa Brown
No one can argue with the fact that successful co-parenting benefits everyone involved—especially a child whose parents continue to share responsibilities post-separation or divorce. Unfortunately, many state governments appear to be the last ones onboard with this conclusion.
According to a new report card on shared parenting from the National Parents Organization (NPO), a third of states received a D+ grade or worse for how well their child custody statutes encourage an arrangement where children spend equal time with both parents after divorce or separation.
The report card served as an update to the organization's 2014 evaluation of states' statutory provisions encouraging shared parenting, which they defined as an arrangement where both parents have equal responsibility for raising their child(ren). "We define shared parenting as, at a minimum, a parent has a third of the time with a child," says Ginger Gentile, deputy executive director of the National Parents Organization. "We're getting away from the 1950s model of the kids are with one parent, often the mom, and they often see the visiting parent on the weekends."
The good news: NPO pointed out that over the past five years, 13 shared parenting bills in nine states have been signed into law. Meanwhile, the number of states that are considered "shared parenting" states (which means they got a C grade or higher) increased from 26 in 2014 to 34 in 2019.
The bad news: Seventeen states got Ds or Fs.
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